Submission for the Native Title Unit in relation to the Native Title Exposure Draft

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on January 15, 2019  /   Posted in NEWS

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute welcomes the work being undertaken to by the Native Title Unit in the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, in relation to reforming native title in Australia. AIGI has made a number of recommendations to the Native Title Unit in relation to the Native Title Exposure Draft released in October 2018. Read the full submission here.

Native_Title_Submission – AIGI

Indigneous Youth in Governance Masterclass 2018

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on December 05, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS

The inaugural Indigenous Youth in Governance Masterclass was held in Melbourne on 20 November 2018 by the Australia Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) in partnership with the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Reconciliation Australia and BHP Billiton Foundation. The nearly 50 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in attendance shared their knowledge and experiences of governing, and engaged with presentations from leading young Indigenous people from Australia and New Zealand.

The participants had diverse backgrounds in governance including university students, local and federal government agencies as well as the health, justice, advocacy, land rights, native title, community, business and environmental sectors.

The masterclass included presentations on governance principles and the influence and intersection of Indigenous culture on approaches to governance, before delving into Indigenous governance in practice with a keynote from Annie Te One. Annie is a Ātiawa and Ngāti Mutunga woman from Wellington, New Zealand where she teaches Māori studies at the Victoria University of Wellington. Annie spoke about Māori governing values and practices and the need for Indigenous political systems to exist alongside Western equivalents. Annie highlighted the importance of Indigenous languages to understanding, expressing and asserting Indigenous forms of governance.

A panel of young Indigenous leaders in the health, advocacy and justice, and land rights sectors discussed ‘Agitating for Change’ based on their experiences of working in governance. Cherisse Buzzacott is an Arrernte/Arabunna woman from Alice Springs, currently residing in Canberra. She is the Project Officer for the Birthing on Country Project with the Australian College of Midwives. Cherisse spoke about the importance of surrounding yourself with allies and a strong support network when agitating for change. Indi Clarke is a proud Mutti Mutti & Lardil man with ties to Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba and Boon Wurrung. He is the Executive Officer of the Koorie Youth Council based in Narrm (Melbourne). Indi focussed on bringing young people together and supporting them to assert decision-making power. Sally Scales is a Pitjantjatjara woman from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. She is the Deputy Chair of the APY Executive Council and the youngest female board member and youngest Deputy Chair in the history of the organisation. Sally spoke about the need for communities and organisations to invest in young people and consult them on decisions that affect them. Sally encouraged participants to be brave and seek opportunities to be involved in governing their communities.

The masterclass ended with an activity to help participants identify and build on their negotiation skills. Participants were able to reflect on the importance of understanding the power structures, local influences and the interests of others when agitating for change, negotiating agreements or making decisions for their communities and organisations.

Photos and presentation slides from the day can be viewed here.

The next masterclass is scheduled for Monday 17 June 2019 in Darwin. Subscribe to the AIGI website to keep up to date.

Strong Governance Supporting Success: Stories and Analysis from the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on November 12, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for greater control over decisions that affect their lives. Mounting evidence from Australia and internationally indicates the important role of practically effective and culturally legitimate governance for Indigenous self-determination, cultural resilience and community development outcomes. But what kind of governing capabilities, models and processes work best to transform hard-won Indigenous rights into improved lived realities? Applicants to the Indigenous Governance Awards (Awards) provide a range of answers to this important question.

The Awards were established by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation in 2005. Some of the AIGI directors have been involved in the Awards since their inception, and the Awards were first co-hosted with AIGI in 2016. The Awards celebrate and promote effective and legitimate governance in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations, projects and initiatives, and provide a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into current best practice and exciting innovations in Indigenous governance.

The 2016 Awards received a record number of applications from 104 incorporated Indigenous organisations and 34 informal Indigenous groups, projects and initiatives. Analysis of 38 shortlisted applicants is presented in Strong Governance Supporting Success: Stories and Analysis from the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards published by AIGI and Reconciliation Australia. The 2016 Awards conversation is distinguished by a number of overarching narratives, emerging trends and key research findings. These findings are presented in the Executive Overview.



Submission for Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on September 12, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS

AIGI have recently submitted to the Joint Select Committee


AIGI welcomes the work being undertaken by the Joint Select Committee however, we believe that significant progress is yet to be made in resolving the long-standing issues relating to the non-recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their relationship with non-Indigenous Australians. In particular, we entreat that no matter what strategies for reform emerge from the Joint Select Committee, the impact must foster sustainable self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


  • 1. That Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution must include and promote self-determination through strong self-governance
  • 2. The Australian Government commit to truth-telling through supporting and fully funding an Australian Truth-telling Commission
  • 3. That the Australian Government pursue agreement making through a Makarrata Commission with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and nations
  • 4. That the Australian Government commit to pursuing Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

You can view the full submission: AIGI_Submission to JSC

Indigenous Governance PhD Scholarship

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on July 23, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS

Indigenous Governance PhD Scholarship


The National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) and the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) at The Australian national University are excited to announce their partnership in establishing a new PhD Indigenous Governance Scholarship that will provide talented Indigenous Australians with the opportunity to undertake a PhD Program as part of a ground-breaking national research project: Indigenous Governance for Self-Determined Development (IGSD).
The anticipated PhD scholarship research will focus on field based, interview and survey investigations of how governance arrangements are being designed and implemented at the local level, in order to secure Indigenous people’s self-determined development aspirations.
The successful candidate will form part of a team of experienced researchers, and conduct their own PhD thesis research whilst also contributing their insights to the IGSD project’s overall research agenda. That will include participation in project planning, workshops, conferences and publications.
Applications are only open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians. In their application, candidates will need to demonstrate that they identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person; and, are accepted by their community as such.
Candidates will also need to demonstrate their experience and commitment to researching and supporting the practice of Indigenous First Nations governance in Australia at the regional, community or organisational level.
The scholarship will only be offered to a candidate who is accepted into postgraduate studies by ANU, and be full-time, commencing 2019 based in Canberra at the ANU where the NCIS and AIGI are co-located.
The scholarship is high-value, comprising an Australian Government Research Training Plan scholarship grant (approx. $27,000) allocated by the ANU to the NCIS; plus, an industry top-up provided by AIGI to the total value of $20,000 totalling up to $47,000. The PhD scholarship also includes additional NCIS and AIGI funds for fieldwork, travel and conference participation.

How to apply
You are invited to submit an Expression of Interest for this scholarship including:
• A written PhD Research Proposal (10 pages approx.) outlining the scope of your ideas for undertaking governance research, including a particular topic, location, methods, contribution and so on;
• Full Academic transcripts;
• A written statement of relevant professional experience, including an example of research or report writing;
• A curriculum vitae; and
• Two written referee reports.

You can also visit the NCIS website for more information

Applications to: Dr Diane Smith at:

Indigenous Data Sovereignty Communique

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on July 05, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS





On the 20th of June, 2018, Indigenous peoples from public and private sectors came together to discuss the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous Data Governance. The summit was held by the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute in collaboration with the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective. 

We are pleased to present the attached Communique, addressed to all individuals and entities involved in the creation, collection, access, analysis, interpretation, management, dissemination and reuse of data and data infrastructure in Australia.

And if you would like to know more about Maiam Nayri Wingara and a History of Data Sovereignty please click on the link below:

History of Data Sovereignty

AIGI Submission – Closing the Gap Refresh 2018

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on July 05, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS


The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute supports the refresh of the Closing the Gap policy. AIGI believe that keeping the current objectives in place and adding additional targets in the areas of criminal justice and addressing systematic racism will create a strong basis from which Australian governments can assess their impact and effectiveness in a new Closing the Gap framework. Furthermore, supporting locally controlled, culturally informed Indigenous governing bodies with genuine decision-making powers must form the core of a refreshed CTG agenda.


1. Clearly communicate who, how and for what purposes, information is being collected about Indigenous peoples and communities.
2. That the current targets in CTG remain.
3. Support Indigenous peoples and communities through vesting genuine decision-making powers in locally controlled, culturally informed Indigenous organisations.
4. Ensure that local Indigenous organisations are adequately resourced both financially and with the necessary skills.
5. Shift policy to a strength-based discourse.
6. Review the term ‘prosperity’.
7. That additional objectives be included in a refreshed CTG including:
a. Reducing the number of Indigenous peoples incarcerated; and
b. Addressing systematic racism.
8. That governments support sector-specific Indigenous advocacy groups, including the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as a national body representing the interests of Indigenous peoples.
9. Indigenous community organisations be embedded in a refreshed CTG.

For full access to our submission, please click here.

Event – The Future of Self-Governance and Self-Determination:

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on June 27, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS


We are pleased to advise you of an event that the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute is hosting to coincide with the First Nations Governance forum at ANU on 5th July.

We believe it is a timely opportunity to have a conversation about ‘The Future of Self-determination and Self-Governance’.  A number of international colleague will be joining us to share their unique country perspectives.

Any enquiries please email

Audit Report

Posted by Australian Indigenous Governance Institute on June 06, 2018  /   Posted in NEWS

Common Roots, Common Futures: Indigenous Pathways to Self-Determination

Preliminary Report into Indigenous Governance Education and Training in Australia

Common Roots, Common Futures: International Network 

Common Roots, Common Futures (CRCF) is an international Indigenous governance network with a practice and applied research agenda which was established in 2012 by leading practitioners and stakeholders from the CANZUS countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America). Common Roots International Indigenous Governance Workshops take place periodically to bring together Indigenous governance leaders, researchers and practitioners for an international conversation about what is happening that is innovative and productive in Indigenous-led self-governance and development. The international CRCF network and workshops are collaboratively hosted by the:

  • Australian Indigenous Governance Institute and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; and
  •  Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

We work collaboratively and in partnership with colleagues from across the CANZUS network, including:

  • Maori and Indigenous Governance Centre, at the University of Waikato, New Zealand; and
  • Canadian Gitxsan leaders.

We would also like to acknowledge the Australian Aurora Project ( for its ongoing support of valuable internships and critical applied research which supported this audit initiative.

Some caveats to keep in mind

The research on which this report and audit rests was conducted over a very short period of four weeks at the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI), located within the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) at the Australian National University as part of an Aurora Internship Program. The simple goal was to see what is available in the field of Indigenous governance training and education needs. Accordingly, a number of limitations and caveats apply.

Firstly, the findings are preliminary, and the audit has been conducted with an assumption that, as with all such audits and surveys, it can be expanded in scope and will need to be periodically updated. All information is current as of August 2017.

Second, training initiatives are constantly being adapted to suit the needs of both the training provider and target audience; and come and go as a result of changing funding.

Third, the templates designed to collate data are working documents subject to ongoing refinement. They are not intended to provide an exhaustive overview of current Indigenous governance training initiatives in Australia. Neither are the template findings to be interpreted as recommendations; AIGI has not conducted any assessment of the delivery standards or content quality of the training programs.

Fourth, this report provides an overview of the research and outcomes. To view the data, please visit

If you know of training and education initiatives that are not covered in this report please contact AIGI with updates, or suggested directions for further research.

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