Professor Helen Milroy will be the first AFL’s first indigenous commissioner.
Her appointment fulfils the league’s promise in May that the next commission appointment would be from the indigenous community.
Sydney great Adam Goodes would have been a strong candidate, but he is said to have ruled himself out because of other commitments.
Instead, the AFL apparently focused on the business and academic communities for a potential commissioner.
Professor Milroy is a descendant of the Palkyu people from WA’s Pilbara region.
She ticks several boxes for the AFL, becoming the third woman on the current commission and also boasting a strong background in mental health.
Her appointment is timely, given the renewed focus this week on mental health as a major issue among AFL players.
Professor Milroy is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, who served as a commissioner with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
She is a professor at the University of Western Australia and a commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission.
“Helen brings the highest level of clinical and policy experience in the important areas of health, mental health and indigenous affairs to the game’s governing body,” AFL chairman Richard Goyder said.
Professor Milroy will officially join the commission after the AFL’s March 14 annual general meeting.
“I am looking forward to working with the AFL commission across all aspects of (its) work,” she said.
“This is an important opportunity to focus on mental health as well as the wellbeing of children and communities through their participation in sport.”