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.