During my visit to PNG this week I have confirmed the commitment of the Australian Government to work with the Government of PNG to improve children’s education and health by harnessing the power of PNG’s national passion – rugby league.

League Bilong Laif or League for Life complements PNG’s education priorities by using rugby league to encourage school attendance, self-discipline, respect and social responsibility.

I will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with PNG’s National Department of Education and the Australian Rugby League Commission which commits to expanding this successful initiative to the Eastern Highlands of PNG and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to extend the number of children who can participate.

The $4 million, three year initiative is part of the Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships which deliver sports training and equipment to Pacific communities.

More than 3000 children and 50 teachers have participated in the program to date in the National Capital District and East New Britain.

League Bilong Laif trains teachers to deliver clinics and classroom exercises that boost physical, reading and maths skills and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Equal numbers of girls and boys participate in League Bilong Laif and more than 70 per cent of teachers trained are women. By appointing female development officers, the program is providing new opportunities for women and girls.

The program is delivered through a partnership between the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian National Rugby League and the PNG National Department of Education. The PNG Rugby Football League and the University of PNG are key supporters of the program. 

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