Basketball Queensland (BQ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Joel Khalu as our Indigenous Pathways Manager - North, the second of two newly created positions that will deliver BQ’s Indigenous Pathways Program (BQIPP).
Khalu will work alongside Michael Cedar, who was recently announced as the new BQ Indigenous Pathways Manager - South.
Introduced in July, the BQIPP aims to deliver a range of socially inclusive sport and physical activity initiatives that will increase participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Basketball throughout Queensland, particularly for those vulnerable and disadvantaged Indigenous persons living in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“I’m really excited about the new role and the challenge of creating supplementary pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in our great game,” Khalu said.
“Being involved in this space is a real passion of mine and making a major impact in my own backyard (of North Queensland) is something very important to me.
“Returning to Australia in 2005 after playing college hoops in the United States, my first job was an Indigenous Development Officer role with BQ and Cairns Basketball delivering clinics for youth throughout Cape York and the Torres Strait.
“I really enjoyed working in remote communities and helping inspire young people through sport.”
Khalu’s background in and passion for developing sporting opportunities for First Nations people led to the creation of the Hoop Dreaming Project (HDP) in 2006 using basketball as a tool to give Indigenous youth a support mechanism, assisting them to become more knowledgeable and successful in different aspects of life including education, employment and health.
Commencing as a National Community Crime Prevention Programme the HDP received recognition Australia-wide by continually developing innovative strategies to combat major youth issues in Far North Queensland, primarily through programs like Midnight Basketball.
Khalu also founded Australian Indigenous Basketball (AIB), an organisation enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of both genders and all ages an opportunity to participate in basketball from the grassroots to elite level.
Part of Khalu's role at AIB included coaching their All Stars men’s team that won the 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 annual Trans-Tasman Series against the New Zealand Aotearoa Māori national team, while also guiding the side to the World Indigenous Basketball Championships held in Canada in 2017.
“Through my experience and skillset I think I can help associations with their inclusion strategies, with the ultimate goal of building culturally safe environments and getting more Indigenous people participating in the sport, whether that be as administrators, players, coaches, referees, score table officials or committee members.
The new role will see Khalu based out of Mackay, visiting targeted regions across the state to deliver specialised BQ activities and services.