In a significant move towards fostering diversity and inclusion, Cricket Australia (CA) unveiled its Multicultural Action Plan, aiming to enhance engagement across all aspects of Australian Cricket. This comprehensive plan stems from extensive consultation with local communities, reflecting a commitment to understanding the current landscape and addressing potential challenges.
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Dedicated to embracing diversity, CA prioritized the experiences of South Asian communities, recognizing their pivotal role in the sport’s growth. With South Asians being the fastest-growing demographic in Australia, the plan strategically focuses on key areas like decision-making and volunteerism.
Funded by the Australian Government’s Major Event Legacy Fund, the plan identifies five priority areas: Participation, High Performance, People and Representation, Communications and Engagement, and Events and Experience.
A notable feature is the commitment to 10 key actions, including increased funding and support for representation in crucial roles like coaching and umpiring. This initiative seeks to ensure a welcoming and inclusive match-day experience for all fans, benefiting multicultural groups across the board.
Cricket Australia’s ambition to capitalize on cricket-loving South Asian communities was underscored during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, where over 150,000 fans attended matches featuring India and Pakistan at the MCG. Setting ambitious goals, CA aims to double the annual attendance of people from South Asian backgrounds, reaching 200,000, and increase registered cricket players from 70,000 to 100,000 by 2027.
Key figures such as Usman Khawaja, Alana King, and Lisa Sthalekar played crucial roles in shaping this Multicultural Action Plan. Khawaja emphasized the need for a different approach, highlighting the historic lack of multicultural representation in the Australian cricket team. The plan, however, extends its coverage to all multicultural communities.
Usman Khawaja, born in Pakistan, shared personal experiences, citing challenges in relating to team-mates during his upbringing. Stressing the importance of breaking down barriers, he called for multicultural representation at all levels of the game, including board level and CA staff.
Cricket Australia’s CEO, Nick Hockley, emphasized the plan’s goal to make cricket environments inclusive and representative of the entire population. Acknowledging the current gaps, Hockley reaffirmed CA’s commitment to creating the most inclusive spaces in all facets of the game, from clubs to administration. The Multicultural Action Plan, launched at the iconic MCG, stands as a testament to Cricket Australia’s dedication to a more diverse and inclusive cricketing future.