From the Newsroom

Clarence Valley school students were excited to meet Indigenous NRL stars at the Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022, held at the Maclean Showground on June 2. Image: Adam Hourigan

Clarence Valley comes together to Close the Gap

Emma Pritchard


Communities from across the region, including more than 900 local school students, came together at the Maclean Showground on June 2 to attend the Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022, and spread the message of the importance of embracing and achieving equality in the health, education, justice and employment aspects of First Nations people.

Close The Gap Day at Maclean Showground.

Proud Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr men and women united in their passion to promote their culture as they raised awareness of the challenges facing First Nations people, including shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, lower levels of education and employment, and ongoing health concerns, with the younger generations.

Aneika Kapeen (left) is the founder and CEO of not-for-profit organisation Mudyala Aboriginal Corporation which does important work supporting First Nations youth in the Clarence Valley region and was instrumental in organising Close The Gap Day event.

Since 2008, Close the Gap has been aimed at improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Australian governments working together to deliver better quality health, education and employment opportunities, and eliminate the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons.

Proudly sponsored by several local organisations including Momentum Collective, Clarence Valley Council (CVC), Our Healthy Clarence, and Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation, Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022 was a free community event.

Children participating in a pillow case project

Following a traditional welcome to country, students were invited to participate in traditional painting, weaving circles and dancing, along with other popular activities including obstacle courses and games of footy.

Clarence Valley products Daine Laurie (back, middle) and Cody Walker (back, second from right) were among the NRL stars who met students from 17 schools at the Close The Gap Day event.

NRL stars and proud Bundjalung men Cody Walker (South Sydney), Daine Laurie (Wests Tigers), and James Roberts (Wests Tigers), also attended Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022, and happily spent time greeting their adoring fans, signing footy memorabilia, and taking selfies.

Clarence Valley’s female councillors Debrah Novak, Allison Whaites and Karen Toms at the Close The Gap Day event.

As they experienced the thrill of meeting some of their favourite sports stars, local students also said it was important to attend Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022 to learn more about the history and the importance of Indigenous culture, and to spread the message behind its inception.

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