Yiriman Project

The Indigenous Governance Awards

Reconciliation Australia 2012 Indigenous Governance Award

We are happy to announce that the Yiriman Project has won the Reconciliation Australia 2012 Indigenous Governance Award (IGA) in Category B: Outstanding examples of Indigenous governance in a non-incorporated initiative or project.

The Indigenous Governance Awards were created in 2005 by Reconciliation Australia to identify, celebrate and promote strong leadership and effective governance.

The Awards recognise and promote effective, innovative, courageous and creative leadership and decision-making that show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people determining and driving real change.  An independent judging panel visited each of the finalists throughout August and September, assessing them against five criteria including self-determination, cultural relevance, legitimacy, future planning and governance resilience.

A record number of over 100 applications were received from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and projects this year—more than tripling the number from the previous awards round in 2010.

IGA Chair and award judge Professor Mick Dodson, who visited the Yiriman Project in August, said, “The Yiriman Project is addressing a vital community need in an innovative, well-structured and cost-effective manner. They have clear and effective ownership by the elders with strong cultural underpinning—it’s a model that could be replicated in other parts of the Kimberley and the country at large.”

Gary Banks, Chairman of the Productivity Commission and board member of Reconciliation Australia also visited the program as a judge. He later stated in an article he wrote for The Australian newspaper: “What has made the Yiriman Project so successful is that the solutions that have been devised and implemented have involved whole communities and families. The project is grounded in an understanding of the problems and the solutions, something that is hard to achieve from Canberra or the capitals.”

Four senior founding Elders from the Yiriman Project attended the awards ceremony in Melbourne on October 12, 2012, including Nyikina Elder John Watson, Walmajarri Elder Joe Brown, Nyikina Elder Annie Milgin, and Karajarri Elder Sylvia Shovellor, along with founding coordinator Peter Ljubik, current coordinators Scott Herring and Jen Klewitz, and the Kimberly Aboriginal Law and Culture Centere (KALACC) Manager Wes Morris.  The group returned to the Kimberly to a cheering mob of family awaiting them in the Broome airport.  As word spread to the wider Yiriman community, a great sense of pride and accomplishment for being recognised for the last 12 years of hard work was shared by all.

More information on the award can be found on the Reconciliation Australia Website at:


Posted in Awards on November 12, 2013.