Former NRL player David Liddiard scores Order of Australia
KINGSCLIFF resident and former first-grade NRL player David Liddiard has been recognised for his services to indigenous youth, sporting and employment programs in the Australia Day awards.
Mr Liddiard, who descends from the Ngarabal people in western NSW, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the general division.
The 52-year-old used contacts he made in his sporting career to launch a series of organisations to help his people, including founding the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy(formerly the National Aboriginal Sports Association, in 1995.
One of NSCA's programs, ARMTour (Athletes as Role Models on Tour), takes athletes to remote communities to interact with youth and provide positive role models.
In 2011, he set up Birubi Group to provide recruitment and management opportunities for indigenous Australians.
In 2010 he established CorporateConnect.AB to advise corporations on engaging with native Australians and boost their recruitment.
He was the founding chairperson of the Message Stick Group in 2004, supporting indigenous business executives. He was also founding supporter of Supply Nation.
Mr Liddiard said he was struggling to get his head around the OAM.
"I've never been one for awards but it's nice to be acknowledged," he said.
"It's special. I'm not taking it lightly."
The father of four was born in Sydney, but moved to the Tweed Coast seven years ago with his family, attracted by the laid-back lifestyle.
Next month he will launch the David Liddiard Group in Sydney, a company that will have four arms including renewable energy and construction that will again seek to advance Aboriginal interests via the business world.
He said while governments had a role to play, he had targeted the private sector in helping advance Aboriginal people, due to his scepticism about the long-term success of bureaucratic initiatives.