Indigenous governance is about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making and implementing decisions about their communities, lives and futures.

The Indigenous Governance Awards were established to identify, celebrate and promote effective governance in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and projects. Reconciliation Australia and the BHP Foundation have proudly partnered to deliver the Awards since 2005. The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) has been involved in the Awards since their inception and in 2016 were excited to become an official partner.

The national Awards program highlights success in Indigenous Australia—strong leadership, good management, effective partnerships and brave, creative thinking. Over the past 14 years, the biennial awards have attracted a total of 526 applications from across the country and awarded a total of $300,000 to some of the most respected Indigenous organisations in Australia.

The Awards are open to Indigenous-led incorporated organisations and non incorporated initiatives or projects. In each category, the judges look for governance that demonstrates:

  • Innovation
  • Effectiveness
  • Self-determination and leadership
  • Cultural relevance and legitimacy
  • Future planning, sustainability and resilience

OUR PEOPLE, OUR WAY: STORIES OF INDIGENOUS GOVERNANCE SUCCESS: This publication presents in-depth case studies of six finalist, highly commended and winning organisations from the 2016 and 2018 Awards. The case studies offer insights into current best practice, as well as lessons and solutions to some of the big challenges of governance. We invite you to learn from these outstanding examples Indigenous governance success.


Finalist Category A 2018

Robe River Kuruma Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (RRKAC) holds its community at the core of the corporation’s governance structures, processes and policies, ensuring it is led, controlled and championed by community. Succession planning and the capture, retention and transfer of knowledge are recurring themes across the corporation. RRKAC successfully locates a ‘recognition space’ between the legislative requirements of the Australian legal system and the traditional laws and customs of the group, within and throughout its Indigenous governance model. The group recognises culturally appropriate and community-inclusive representation in its framework, and community drive RRKAC’s corporate values. They are instrumental in the strategic plan development process and underpin the corporate governance framework, including through their strong representation throughout all decision-making bodies.

This approach removes any potential stagnancy, keeping community informed, empowered and accountable for their corporation’s performance. The framework is community inclusive and provides for communication exchange across all decision-making bodies to ensure consistency and transparency, and allowing the group to measure RRKAC’s effectiveness and sustainability.

We help our community members achieve personal independence with the community programs that we deliver. We value our member’s participation and are transparent in everything that we do; we involve our community heavily in our governance processes. – Sara Slattery (CEO)


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