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Johnathan Thurston Honoured for his Work, on and off the Field

Published on 9 Jul 2018

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Johnathan Thurston

Johnathan Thurston has been named Queensland’s number one most influential person by The Courier-Mail’s Power 100 for his work on and off the football field.

The rugby league legend and founder of the Johnathan Thurston Academy (JT Academy) has scored the number one spot of the who’s who of Queensland, the top 100 movers and shakers of the Sunshine State.

According to the newspaper driven initiative, Johnathan has secured the #1 Most Influential spot ahead personalities across politics, business, science, sporting and community advocates for the top honour, thanks to his impressive football career and his ongoing commitment and drive to helping Australian jobseekers find meaningful work. Johnathan’s determination to encourage further education in indigenous communities is also a focus of his Academy, going forward.

“Thurston personifies Queensland,” the newspaper said on Saturday when launching the Power 100 list. “He was the kid who got told he was too skinny to play rugby league, only to become the state’s most recognisable sports star.

“Yet, his influence extends beyond what he has done on the football field to become a driving force in politics and indigenous affairs.

“Thurston champions indigenous health and education and has launched the JT Academy, which aims to deliver employment, training and community programs to people across the nation.”

Despite only launching in February this year, the JT Academy is gaining traction and establishing its place as a national provider of real employment opportunities and training programs aimed at health, diversity, wellbeing, sport and education.

This is all thanks to the support of our major Corporate Partners, being Lendlease who have been unequivocal in their support from day one, Sony Music, Jimani Clothing, Asics Australia and Accor Hotels as well as the Federal Government support from the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion.

Minister Scullion commended Thurston for the number one honour, but said he wasn’t surprised to see him selected for the prestigious role

“It’s great the contribution of a great Queenslander, but also a great Aboriginal man and Australian recognised on Saturday,” Minister Scullion said.

“The Commonwealth Government is proud to support Johnathan Thurston’s work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland to lift school attendance, employment and family wellbeing.”

Thurston was humbled by the number one spot, but said the real honour is when he hears the stories of young jobseekers finding meaningful work through the Academy.

“We just want to inspire young people to know about the choices they have – if they are presented to them as actual choices and not just dreams – and then support them through their education and into work,” Thurston said. “That has a positive effect for that person, their family, friends and their community so if we do this properly, it’s going to be a win-win for all.

“I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of our wonderful partners and supporters from the companies who have helped us make the Academy possible to the many employers who have pledged to give our jobseekers a go.

“I would also like to thank and commend the jobseekers who have approached us to help find them work or undertaken our training – it’s thanks to this collaborative approach that will see us make a difference.”

The support and commitment of the JT Academy team to the cause has been nothing but overwhelming and greatly appreciated.




Johnathan Thurston Academy pays the deepest respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country across Australia. We acknowledge and thank our Elders who demonstrated over 60,000 years of sustainable Indigenous business and ask them to guide us back on track to a more prosperous and purposeful future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.