Korin Gamadji Institute will extend its globally-recognised REAL program thanks to a $1.2 million commitment announced yesterday by the Liberal National Government.

The funding will enable the KGI to establish three Real Healthy hubs in Melbourne, Mildura and Albury-Wodonga, providing 300 Aboriginal youth with programming that will enable cultural connection and include access to fitness services.

The KGI already delivers three key pillars under its Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leaders (REAL) program – REAL Connect, REAL Determined and REAL Empowered.- all aimed strengthening Aboriginal youth, enabling them to determine their own futures.

Richmond’s Chief Executive Officer, Brendon Gale welcomed the funding and said it would benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enormously.

“Healthy and connected Indigenous youth are best placed to determine and shape their own futures and delivering that outcome has been the driving force behind the Korin Gamadji Institute for almost a decade,” Mr Gale said.

“We are most grateful for the support of the Federal Government who clearly share our vision. The support announced today by Minister Hunt will enable the KGI to broaden and deepen programming to deliver even more significant outcomes.”

“Our KGI alumni are the leaders of tomorrow. The support announced today will be reflected in the role models of the future, and the stronger, healthier communities they belong to,” Mr Gale said.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the Government’s support will help to eliminate the barriers to health and wellbeing.

“It is absolutely critical that in today’s society everybody has access to the services they want and need,” Minister Hunt said.

“Programs like this one give young people direction, focus and a glimpse into what is possible if they make good choices.”

“I’m proud to announce a further 400 Aboriginal young people will be given free access to recreation facilities and a 12-week health and wellbeing plan across the shires of Cardinia, Eltham, Mildura and Albury Wodonga.”

“Funding will also allow KGI to stage an Annual Dreamtime Health Expo at Punt Road Oval prior to Dreamtime at the G – the pre-eminent night event on the AFL calendar.”

“This will connect more than 1000 Indigenous community members with peer support networks, attainable role models, health industry experts and providers,” Minister Hunt said.

An online program will also be developed to deliver improved health outcomes to a broader audience.

With a focus on leadership, active participation, health and wellbeing, personal and career pathways and cultural pride and affirmation, the REAL program works directly with young people to strengthen them and their communities.

The funding will be provided over the next three years under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which improves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to effective, high quality and culturally appropriate health services in urban, regional, remote and rural areas.

The Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment of funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.