The awards – which recognise excellence in governance and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations – were attended by finalists from communities across Australia, and included The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and Indigenous leaders Mick Dodson and Leah Armstrong.
According to the media release by BHP Billiton, the Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation from Alice Springs was named the Best-Run Aboriginal Corporation whereas Swan Hill’s The Marruk Project won the Best Project award.
The Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation is an initiative of the Central Australian communities’ strong female leaders, addressing needs such as disability support care and emergency relief. It is based in Alice Springs.
The Marruk Project in Swan Hill, Victoria, uses performing arts to strengthen culture and create opportunities for elders, young people, artists and cultural leaders to get to know each other by sharing their histories.
BHP Billiton President – Corporate Affairs, Tony Cudmore, congratulated the 2014 winners:
“BHP Billiton has been proud to support the Indigenous Governance Awards since they began in 2005 and I congratulate this year’s winners. Our company has operations in Australia and around the world. Many of these are located on or near traditional Indigenous lands, which makes our relationship with those communities especially important,” Mr Cudmore said.
“We aim to make a positive contribution through programs to improve health, education, environment and cultural outcomes wherever we operate. But fostering good governance is arguably the most effective way we can deliver support – because of the strong link between good governance and economic empowerment.”
Mr Cudmore said the Awards also identify and celebrate achievements in good governance.
“Importantly, they also recognise that governance is challenging. But through sharing our experiences, we can continue to learn from each other and multiply the success that is so evident through these Awards,” he said.