4 June 2024

Whitehaven commits $30,000 to support local rugby league in north west NSW

In a significant boost to regional sports, Whitehaven Coal has pledged $30,000 to sponsor the Group 4 Rugby League Association, which oversees the premier rugby league competition across north west NSW. This partnership will provide financial support for local clubs and contribute to the sport’s ongoing development and growth in the region.

Group 4 Rugby League, now operating under the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) following the disbandment of the Country Rugby League (CRL), spans five Local Government Areas: Moree Shire, Narrabri Shire, Gunnedah Shire, Tamworth Shire, and the Liverpool Plains Shire. The region covers over 50,000 square kilometres and is home to an estimated population of 110,000 residents.

Whitehaven’s support will directly benefit the eight clubs in the competition – Moree, Narrabri, Boggabri, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Werris Creek, Kootingal, and Dungowan. The 2023 competition saw participation from 8 Men’s 1st Grade teams, 8 Men’s 2nd Grade teams, 6 Under 18’s teams, and 8 Ladies League Tag Teams.

Whitehaven’s involvement will enable the Group 4 Rugby League Board to extend further assistance to Junior League clubs across the region, helping to deliver a sustainable future for the sport at the grassroots level.

The Group 4 Rugby League Board welcomed Whitehaven’s commitment to the game in regional NSW.

“The sponsorship from Whitehaven Coal comes at a crucial time. In recent years, regional rugby league areas have felt the pinch, suffering from a lack of financial and developmental support,” a spokesperson for the Group 4 Board stated.

“With this funding, the Group 4 Board aims to alleviate club expenses, enhance development opportunities, upgrade referee equipment, and bolster the Junior League.”

“With around 1,000 people registered as players, coaches, or volunteers and substantial Indigenous participation, the impact of Whitehaven’s sponsorship will be significant.”

The beneficiaries of this contribution extend beyond the players on the field to include everyone involved in the game – spectators, supporters, and volunteers – ensuring that regional rugby league competitions not only survive but thrive.

Whitehaven’s partnership with the Group 4 Rugby League Association is part of the company’s belief that local communities should be the main beneficiaries of its presence.

With around 75% of Whitehaven’s 2,750-strong workforce living in towns around its operations in north west NSW, many of the company’s employees and contractors are involved in local sporting clubs across a range of codes, including the Group 4 Rugby League competition. “At Whitehaven, we believe in the power of sport to unite and inspire,” Darren Swain, Whitehaven’s General Manager Community Engagement said.

“Our sponsorship of the Group 4 Rugby League Association reflects our commitment to supporting community organisations that play an important role in our region.

“We’re delighted to be contributing to the nurturing of local talent, from juniors right through to first grade, and the ongoing development of rugby league in regional New South Wales.”

Whitehaven is committed to ensuring regional towns thrive across north west NSW so the benefits of the company’s presence go beyond its workforce and beyond the life of any single asset. In FY23, Whitehaven contributed $4.35 million to local community causes and initiatives across a range of diverse areas, including health, education, sport, flood relief and nature conservation.

For more information, check out Whitehaven’s 2023 Sustainability Report.


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