It’s time to take stock of our achievements

The AIGI is a new centre promoting best practice in Indigenous governance across Australia. We know that proper attention to governance, making sure it’s culturally legitimate and effective for each group and its goals, creates a solid foundation to meet community needs and address challenges.

As CEO of AIGI, I’d like to strongly encourage Indigenous people running organisations, projects and initiatives to enter the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards. The Awards are a great opportunity to stop for a moment and really celebrate the breadth of knowledge, skill and success of your organisation, project or initiative. It’s also a great chance to reflect on your governance practices, tell your story, share your experience and learn from others.

We’re often so busy getting the job done, that we don’t stop to take stock of our achievements and the processes we might have followed, or even created, to get there. I know that people can sometimes think of governance as the ‘boring stuff’ but if you look at past Indigenous Governance Awards finalists, you can see the inspiring stories of a diverse range of people making change and keeping culture strong across the country.

Like in 2012, Indigenous people running unincorporated projects or initiatives at a community, regional or national level are encouraged to enter the 2014 Awards. Applicants are asked to describe their achievements and challenges that demonstrate:

  • Innovation
  • Effectiveness
  • Self-determination and leadership
  • Cultural relevance and legitimacy
  • Future planning and governance resilience.


Many organisations, projects and initiatives take action in all these areas, but may not realise their achievements or challenges until they step back and look at the way they’re doing business. Take ‘innovation’ for example. Nothing stays the same for long – organisations and people running projects are always adapting to change.

These might be changing conditions in communities, new governments with different priorities, big budgets, small budgets and staff turnover. The ways we find solutions to meet those new changes will always involve innovation. The Awards are a way to share our new ideas and strategies – your story and experience might be of great value to others who might be facing similar challenges.

The AIGI’s board members have been long-time supporters of the Indigenous Governance Awards. We are working closely with Reconciliation Australia on the 2014 Awards and will continue to do so in future years.

I really hope your organisation, project or initiative enters the Awards this year – it’s a terrific opportunity to share your work, the ways you make decisions, the ways you get things done, the ways you deal with different views, your achievements and the lessons you might want to pass on to others.

Photo credits:  Robynne Quiggin © Australian Museum, photographer Stuart Humphreys; Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation elders, Cecil “Crocodile” Johnson and Jangala Rice with IGA chair Professor Mick Dodson and IGA judge Dr Simon Longstaff, photographer Wayne Quilliam.

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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