Alice Springs' Red CentreNATS festival on Right Tracks to help next generation

[by Vanessa Gregory]


Participants in this year's Right Tracks program at Red CentreNATS. Image: supplied

Australia’s Ultimate Festival of Wheels, Red CentreNATS, is paving the way for Aboriginal young people in the heart of the nation to get involved with the event through a partnership with the Alice Springs-based Right Tracks program.


Incorporated into the Red CentreNATS program for the first time this year, the initiative has proved extremely popular with participants keen to take part in the unique automotive event.


The young Territorians have worked together to build, modify and paint three vehicles, including a famous car called the ‘Cuz Mobile’, which featured in an Alice Springs documentary in 2016.


Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) delivers Red CentreNATS on behalf of the Northern Territory Government in partnership with Summernats.


NTMEC CEO Tim Watsford said the initiative was a good example of how major events help develop social, economic and community benefits.


“The ongoing community program fosters skills in automotive projects in Alice Springs and remote communities, along with the important outcome of engaging with Aboriginal youth on health, employment, education and leadership,” he said.


“We approached Right Tracks last year to create an ongoing annual program to encourage community participation in the event, and now it’s full speed ahead.”


This initiative is a partnership between Right Tracks, Red CentreNATS, Northern Territory Major Events Company, Car Festivals, the Northern Territory Government, Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation, Charles Darwin University and Yirara College.


Students from the Clontarf Academy at Yirara College rebuilt a Ford BA XR6 and transformed it into a new ‘Cuz Mobile’ with support from Alice Springs Town Council. They also took part in a pin-striping workshop at this year’s Red CentreNATS.


Ian McAdam, Sports and Health Coordinator, Right Tracks Program, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, said they were stoked when the Red CentreNATS team and Northern Territory Major Events Company invited them to create an educational program to encourage community participation in the 2021 event.


“We want to foster automotive skills in communities, and grow the confidence of local youth and their sense of achievement,” he said.


“You can see the pride that Aboriginal people have for their cars at footy carnivals, often decorating a vehicle in the local team colours with balloons and streamers.


“We want our youth to know that they can have a go at restoring a car and learn new skills on the way without it costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”


Red CentreNATS ran from 3-5 September in Alice Springs.


Visit www.redcentrenats.com.au to find out more about the event.


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