Applications are open

Reconciliation Australia and BHP Billiton are proud to launch the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards (IGAs) today.

Established in 2005, the IGAs publicly recognise and celebrate outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations and projects that make extraordinary contributions to communities and the nation.

Organisations that are displaying effective Indigenous governance are encouraged to apply, with prizes including corporate mentoring, feedback from the judging panel, media and networking opportunities, and a share in $60,000.

Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia, Justin Mohamed, said that Indigenous-led organisations are effective because their governance models are rooted in culture.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have always had their own governance—an ancient jurisdiction made up of traditions, values and culture-based laws that have been effective for tens of thousands of years,” Mr Mohamed said.

“Effective governance is the foundation that allows organisations to drive real and lasting change. Indigenous governance matters because it is a powerful predictor of success in economic and community development and in maximising self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Since the IGAs began in 2005, we have seen time and time again how Indigenous-led organisations can deliver results at the highest level.

“These organisations employ and train local people; provide purpose, structure and stability to their communities; empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to take control of their own lives; and often deliver critical services in ways that mainstream organisations cannot.

“As an integral part of Australia becoming a reconciled nation, it is essential that we showcase these high achievers.”

The IGAs have a history of drawing high caliber nominations, with the 2014 Awards attracting a record 113 applications from some of Australia’s most remote communities and busiest cities.

“In 2016, we are keen to see applications from organisations and projects that are making a difference through innovation, leadership and community engagement,” Mr Mohamed said.

“In a tough time for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, we want to continue to recognise the amazing work still being done around the country.”

The two award categories are Category A: Indigenous-led incorporated organisations and Category B: Indigenous-led non-incorporated initiatives or projects.

Winners in each of the two categories will receive $20,000, and highly commended organisations in each category will each be awarded $10,000.

Applications or recommendations for the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards can be made online at or by calling 02 6153 4400. Applications close Friday 20 May 2016.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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