Indigenous Governance Articles and Publications

Strong Governance Supporting Success: stories and analysis from the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards

The Indigenous Governance Awards (Awards) celebrate people who practise the longest continuous governance in the world. The longevity and success of these practices are remarkable. Yet, we’ve often been asked: why governance? Why is it that strong governance is worthy of recognition and a dedicated Awards program? It’s because good governance is crucial to self-determination and to building and sustaining strong, healthy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Awards are underscored by the belief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold the key to positive social, political, cultural and economic prosperity, and that governance plays a key role in this process. The power of the Awards is to shift the focus from what does not work to what does. They showcase evidence that our people and organisations have the answers. They foster pride and confidence in the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to change our peoples’ lives for the better, and they encourage mainstream Australia to adopt a new discourse focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success.

Please click here for full access to this report.

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

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).

An important outcome of the latest Common Roots workshop in Brisbane 2017 was the recommendation that each CANZUS country undertake an audit of the kinds of governance education and training available to Indigenous nations and communities, primarily focusing on the Indigenous, organisational, tertiary, government and non-government sectors. In response, AIGI has developed a template for the purpose of documenting the results, conducted a preliminary audit, and produced the ‘Preliminary Report into Indigenous Governance Education and Training’.

Please click here for full access to this report. Alternatively, a pdf version is available here.

Our short and long terms findings are also available in spreadsheets here.

Indigenous Data Sovereignty Communique

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.

AIGI Submission: Closing The Gap Refresh 2018


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 on the following link: Closing the Gap_AIGI_Submission_FINAL

IGA 2016 Executive Overview  

The Indigenous Governance Awards were created by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities in 2005 to identify, celebrate and promote effective governance in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations and initiatives.

In 2016, the Awards received a record number of 138 applications from Indigenous
incorporated and non-incorporated organisations.

To find out more about our key findings, please click the link below for our executive overview.

IGA 2016 Executive Overview

Voices of Our Success: Sharing the Stories and Analysis from the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards

untitled‘Voices of Our Success’ presents innovations and emerging trends identified in our analysis of the governance solutions of the top ranked 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards (Awards) applicants. 

The Awards celebrate success in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incorporated organisations and non-incorporated organisations and projects nation-wide. In 2014, 113 stellar Indigenous-led organisations and projects applied providing a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into current innovation, practice and understanding of Indigenous governance.

The 2014 applicants confirm what we already know: that strong governance is a change enabler. What additionally stands out about the applicants is that they are inherently ‘for purpose’. These organisations strongly prioritise mutual accountability and innovatively craft governance arrangements to ensure that projects, services and programs serve the interests of those they impact.

An Executive Overview of key findings is available here: Voices of Our Success Executive Overview.

The full report is available here: Voices of Our Success: Sharing the Stories and Analysis from the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards

AIGI and AIATSIS Indigenous Governance Development Forum: Mapping Current and Future Research and Resource Needs

An Indigenous Governance Forum was hosted by the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) on 29th – 30th July 2014.

The Background Paper, which included information from the pre-forum survey, was distributed to participants. Here is a link to the Indigenous Governance Forum Background Paper.

A report presenting the forum proceedings, titled Building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance: report of a forum to map current and future research and practical resource needs, was published in June 2015. The report provides a synthesis of ideas, comments, issues and possibilities identified through the survey and the forum. Here is a link to the Building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance report.

Social Justice and Native Title Report 2014

Mr Mick Gooda is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. The Commissioner has a unique role at the Australian Human Rights Commission, responsible for advocating for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Australians. As part of the role, the Commissioner submits an annual report to the Attorney General on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The report is an opportunity to reflect and comment on the year’s events regarding social justice and native title, and to provide recommendations that promote the continued enjoyment of the rights of Indigenous Australians.

The 2014 Report was released 5 December 2014. It is accessible via the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2014 

The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report: Key Indicators 2014 (OID Report) was released by the Productivity Commission in November 2014. The OID Report measures the wellbeing of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. The report provides information about outcomes across a range of strategic areas such as early child development, education and training, healthy lives, economic participation, home environment, and safe and supportive communities. The report examines whether policies and programs are achieving positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The OID Report is accessible via the Productivity Commission website.

Financial Services Council Standard 22 – Cultural Capability in Native Title Services 

The Financial Services Council in partnership with First Nations Foundation released Standard 22 Cultural Capability in Native Title Services in May 2015.

The purpose of this Standard is to encourage good practice in the provision of tailored, culturally-appropriate financial services to assist Communities to achieve their goals and aspirations. The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute contributed to the development of Standard 22 together with representatives from Indigenous Business Australia, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and Nyamba Buru Yawuru. Standard 22 Cultural Capability in Native Title Services is accessible via this link.

Closing the gap clearinghouse Issues paper no. 5: Engaging with Indigenous Australia— exploring the conditions for effective relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Issues paper no. 5, produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse by Janet Hunt in October 2013, examines what research shows about the conditions that enable governments and others (non-government organisations and the private sector) to engage effectively with Indigenous communities and how these conditions can be enhanced for effective engagement between governments and Indigenous communities.

To implement the Closing the Gap policy, Australian Government policy aims to strengthen government engagement and partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, recognising that without genuine engagement it will be difficult to achieve the key policy targets (the COAG targets). This paper overviews the research-based evidence on how such engagement can be developed and maintained. The paper is accessible via this link.

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