Australian Government supports 2018 AFL All Abilities National Inclusion Carnival, 18-23 June 2018

AFL All abilities

The Australian Government, through the Department of Social Services, supported the 2018 AFL All Abilities National Inclusion Carnival from June 18-23, as part of the promotion of the 2018 International Day of People with Disability program.

The AFL National Inclusion Carnival is an annual event which provides some of Australia’s most talented footballers with an intellectual disability the opportunity to represent their state or territory on the national stage and to showcase the significant abilities of footballers with an intellectual disability to the broader community.

This year the Carnival was held in Launceston, Tasmania, across four venues over the course of the week. A Welcome video message was provided by the CEO, Gill McLachlan, and the event was attended by the AFL Commissioner, Simone Wilkie AO.

There was full national representation of every state and territory, consisting of eight teams. The Carnival included 28 Lightning Carnival games, 12 Divisional games, 4 finals games, and the following Education Sessions:

  • Healthy Eating – Hawthorn FC
  • Preparing for Employment – WISE Employment
  • Speak Up! Stay ChatTY – Relationships Australia, Tasmania
  • Inclusive Language – Lend a Hand to Hugo

Supporting the Carnival provided the opportunity to increase inclusiveness by raising awareness of the achievements, contributions and abilities of people with disability and encouraging inclusive practices and attitudes.

Throughout the week, players promoted the importance of people with an intellectual disability engaging in sport across Launceston.

Data collected confirms the positive impact the Carnival has had on the footballers, beyond playing football. The biggest impact was providing a sense of belonging.


  1. “Thank you for this life changing experience” – player “Owning my disability is a big honour and I’m proud to be going for the second year” – player.
  2. “The National Inclusion Carnival is one of the best experiences of my time in football as a player, coach, volunteer or administrator. There is such a great sense of comradery and sportsmanship amongst the players, it’s easy to see why so many have forged such strong friendships with opposition players. The work the AFL is doing to promote opportunities for everyone to play our great game is fantastic and can’t wait to see the continued growth of the carnival and programs for people to participate in AFL in the future.”
  3. Two of the families have thanked the team for giving their son the “best week of his life”.