Former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally Appointed Head of Basketball Australia

December 12, 2011

Former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally has been appointed as the new head of Basketball Australia (BA).

Keneally, who is now a Labor Party backbencher, will be the new chair of the board of BA, and will be charged with breathing life into Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).

She will replace outgoing chair Justin Milne in the role.

Keneally said she saw huge opportunities for basketball to build on its recent gains.

“As a sport, basketball in Australia has some unique advantages that we are only just starting to capitalise on,” Keneally said in a statement.

She said she would promote the WNBL as a major league in Australia during her two-year appointment.

“(It) deserves just as much attention in terms of sponsorship or television or attendance as the men’s competition,” Keneally said.

She said she could speak with a bit of knowledge of the sport and understood what it meant.

“I am passionate about sports in general and basketball in particular,” she said.

Keneally said the sport’s potential over was largely untapped and she saw huge opportunities for growth in both men’s and women’s basketball.

“There’s currently over a million people in Australia (playing basketball), that’s pretty significant, of course we’d like to see that grow,” she said.

When asked about her unanimous appointment to the role she said, “There’s a great desire to see someone who can stand up and speak for the league and speak with a bit of knowledge of the sport as well.”

She said the immediate focus of BA was on the Olympics and she had high hopes of both the men’s and women’s teams returning with medals “of the golden variety”.

Milne said Keneally was selected because of her great values and fierce determination.

Keneally said she was looking forward to the challenge.

“I think the experience that a politician brings, somebody who has worked across government, private sector and community organisations, is relevant experience,” she said.

She will receive a $50,000 stipend.