2012 Indigenous Governance Awards Announced

One of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal organisations, the NPY Women’s Council, and the West Kimberley youth program, the Yiriman Project have won the top two Indigenous Governance Awards (IGAs) for 2012.

A record number of over 100 applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and projects took part in this year’s Awards.

IGA Chair Professor Mick Dodson said choosing the winners was an incredibly tough decision and demonstrated that this year’s finalists are absolute leaders in their respective fields.

“The high quality of applicants and finalists made this year’s decision the hardest yet—the slimmest of margins separated the finalists, because they are all excellent.

“Being a judge in these awards opens your eyes and your heart to the extraordinary work that is being done out there. I wish all Australians could visit these organisations on the ground and see and hear what we saw and heard.”

An independent judging panel visited each of the eight finalists throughout August and September assessing them against five criteria including self-determination, cultural relevance and legitimacy and future planning and government resilience.

The NPY Women’s Council was the winner for Category A: Outstanding examples of Indigenous governance in Indigenous incorporated organisations, while The Yiriman Project took out Category B: Outstanding examples of Indigenous governance in a non-incorporated initiative or project.

In Category A the Highly Commended award went to the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and in Category B to the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly.

“The NPY Women’s Council has courageously tackled issues, but it is their governance and commitment to culture that allows them to take on tough issues,” Professor Dodson said.

“The Yiriman Project is addressing a vital community need in an innovative, well-structured and cost-effective manner. They have clear and effective ownership by the elders with strong cultural underpinning—it’s a model that could be replicated in other parts of the Kimberley and the country at large.”

The Indigenous Governance Awards were created in 2005 by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton, to identify, celebrate and promote strong leadership and effective governance.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong said that strong governance and the empowerment of communities are among the essential foundations of reconciliation.

“What we see today at the Indigenous Governance Awards are examples of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples taking a lead role in their own affairs,” Armstrong said.

“Our job is to share this around the nation, to help breed that success, and see it replicated in all
our communities.”

Full details of finalists and winners: www.reconciliation.org.au/iga

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