Southern Sports Academy athletes Sophie Fawns (Netball) and Luke Tudulu (Rugby) attended NSW Parliament House last Tuesday as part of the Regional Academies of Sport (RASi) network. They came together to be recognised for their roles in sport and be acknowledged as outstanding young athletes. It was a celebration and opportunity to meet the Region’s high performing athletes as well as Regional Academy representatives and stakeholders.

Athletes also attended a Leadership forum prior to the parliamentary event which included a presentation and workshop with dual international (Women’s Australian Rugby League and Union) and Channel 9 NRL commentator, Ruan Sims.

The Parliamentary function was hosted by The Hon. Jonathan O’Dea MP, was addressed by The Hon. Geoff Lee Acting Sports Minister and many other ministers and local MP’s were in attendance.

Ian Robillard OAM, Chairman of RASi said “Regional Academies are a little like the AIS, only better, completely local and fully committed to our regions. RASi is the lead organisation in development of athlete pathways. The expertise here today is basically unmatched in the sports industry and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this incredibly unique network. RASi is unique; it’s a network that money can’t buy you entry to, it’s earnt, it’s priceless and it’s something this state cannot go without. The Parliamentary Reception is our chance to demonstrate that for every $1 received through our government alignment we can return $24 into regional NSW. A return applied to regional youth, and surely our youth support strategy for regional NSW is a critical element to the success of the RASi network.”

Robilliard added “In the past year alone, RASi has provided the following: 125 sport talent programs, access for 2,360 athletes into those sport talent programs, a female to male participation ratio of 58:42, engagement with 337 coaches, 470 volunteers who contributed $1.6M in financial value to the state, and RASi was critical in creating 187 jobs throughout the state. These numbers are secondary to the quality of the people RASi is helping to develop, RASi is critical in the development of the social fabric of our regional communities, this is truly our success. These numbers and our success will surely grow if the government investment into RASi continues to grow with our own aspirational goals.”