ADF supports PNG Rugby League

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The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

The Hon Alex Hawke MP

Assistant Defence Minister

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

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3 December 2020

Joint media release:

  • Minister for International Development and the Pacific. the Hon Alex Hawke MP

REFEREES and sports trainers with a passion for rugby league in the Pacific region will benefit from a new virtual officials program developed by Defence in partnership with the National Rugby League and Sports Medicine Australia.

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Rugby League partnership was providing support to qualify sports officials to a Level 1 Referee, allowing them to referee in the local Digicel Cup Competition and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force rugby league competitions.

“Defence has a long-standing relationship with Pacific Island nations and this program will help PNG rugby league to improve the quality of sports management, diplomacy and medicine across these communities,” Mr Chester said.

“The three-day program has significantly developed officials and trainer capacity in the region by accrediting more than 30 referees and 24 sports trainers.

“Sports play an incredible role in bringing people together and this is another great initiative to build relationships with our Pacific neighbours.”

The initiative was the first virtual officials program to provide practical and theoretical aspects specific to rugby league referees and sports trainers.

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said the ADF is increasing engagement in the Pacific through sport to build stronger ties between our communities.

“Rugby league is an important part of Australia’s Pacific Step-up. That’s because sport is a universal language and plays a unique role in showcasing our shared values, such as teamwork and fair play. Sport builds trust between countries and brings people together,” Minister Hawke said.

The virtual program was delivered by ADF Rugby League and the Australian National Rugby League in support of the PNG Defence Force and PNG Rugby League.

The ADF is also assisting the newly formed PNG Rugby League Board with the development of the PNG Rugby League strategy.

Imagery from the event will be available at:



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