Northern Territory Government Newsroom

On Your Marks… Arafura Games Off To A Great Start

The first two countries to say they will attend the Arafura Games are Vietnam and Indonesia. The Games, which were scrapped by the chaotic former CLP government in 2011, have been resurrected by the Territory Labor Government and will return to the NT sporting calendar in 2019.

Minister for the Arafura Games, Ken Vowles, visited Vietnam and Indonesia this week to discuss the Games alongside business opportunities for the Territory.

“We made an election promise to bring back the Arafura Games and it is fantastic to see two of our close trading partners – Vietnam and Indonesia – say they will take part,” Mr Vowles said.

In Vietnam Mr Vowles met with Vice Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Mr Le Khanh Hai, who confirmed the country will be sending athletes to the 2019 Arafura Games.

“Vietnam is the second biggest importer of live cattle and buffalo from the NT – behind Indonesia – and their participation in the Games will further strengthen our relationship,” Mr Vowles said.

In Indonesia, Mr Vowles met with the Secretary of Youth and Sports Mr Gatot Sulistiantora Dewa Broto, and Chairman of the Indonesian National Sports Committee, Major General (Ret’d) Tono Suratman.

“Indonesia was one of our biggest competitors in the 2011 Games,” Mr Vowles said. “They sent more than 250 athletes to take part and it would be great to get back to that level of participation.”

Assistant Minister for Bringing Back the Arafura Games Kate Worden said the confirmation that Vietnam and Indonesia will take part in the Games came on the back of unofficial talks earlier this year.

“We always planned to bring back the Arafura Games, so throughout the consultation process, where we engaged with stakeholders and the community through hearings, written submissions and an online survey, we also reached out to countries that might be interested in taking part,” Ms Worden said. “It is great these first two countries have confirmed they will take part.”

“The Arafura Games are a great opportunity for the Territory,” Mr Vowles said. “They are about playing sport, community participation through volunteering, and strengthening relationships with our Asia-Pacific trading partners. The beneficial flow-on effects for business and trade could be huge.”

Media Contact: Leanne Hudson 0427 687 079