Victoria’s emergency services workers will be recognised, celebrated and supported with a new marquee occasion on the AFL calendar when Collingwood and Hawthorn meet at the MCG in Round 16.

The two clubs today launched what will be an annual Emergency Services match to acknowledge the support that the emergency services provide Victoria and to raise awareness of the mental health issues affecting those working within the industry.

Collingwood and Hawthorn have each pledged $25,000, and the Victorian Government a further $100,000, to raise funds for the Emergency Services Foundation which provides relief and assistance to Victorian emergency service workers and their families in times of need, as well as funding for research into the hazards and consequences for those in the line of duty.

Also partnering with the match are state emergency service providers including Emergency Management Victoria, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority, Life Saving Victoria, Forest Fire Management, Victorian State Emergency Service and ESTA (Triple 000). The Victorian Government, BankVic and TAC are official partners of the match.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire joined Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville at the MCG for the launch of the match.

“We all understand the power of sport and we’re thrilled that our two clubs can come together to shine a light on the great work our emergency services workers do every day – often at great risk or cost to themselves,” McGuire said.

“We hope that each year at the MCG, the home of football, Collingwood and Hawthorn can create a special occasion and enable the football public to say ‘thank you’ to those who make our lives safer daily and to offer them a helping hand in their own times of need by raising funds for the Emergency Services Foundation (ESF).”

The ESF was established in 1983 after the Ash Wednesday fires, to support emergency services workers traumatised or otherwise adversely affected by carrying out their duty. More than half of all employees and volunteers in emergency services experience a traumatic event in their careers.

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