Judging Criteria and Prizes


The Indigenous Governance Awards are divided into three award categories:

  1. Category 1

    Outstanding examples of governance in Indigenous-led non-incorporated initiatives or projects

  2. Category 2

    Outstanding examples of governance in Indigenous-led small to medium incorporated organisations (under $1 million annual revenue)

  3. Category 3
    Outstanding examples of governance in Indigenous-led large incorporated organisations ($1 million and over annual revenue)

Judging Criteria

In each category, the independent panel of judges is looking for governance that demonstrates:

  1. Innovation
    Does the organisation or initiative/project demonstrate innovation and ingenuity in its governance development and response to local conditions and circumstances?
  2. Effectiveness
    Can the organisation’s or initiative’s/project’s governance effectively make and carry out decisions, solve problems, deal with disputes and achieve positive and measurable results in addressing a key concern, problem, or challenge facing its community/region?
  3. Self-determination
    Does the organisation or initiative/project strengthen self-governance and leadership for its members/community?
  4. Sustainability
    Does the organisation or initiative/project plan for the future and adapt to changing circumstances?
  5. Cultural legitimacy
    Does the organisation or initiative/project fit, reflect, and strengthen the community’s or region’s culture?
Read more about the panel of judges.

Selection process

The selection process for the Indigenous Governance Awards involves:

  • Step 1 – Application
    Applicants will fill out an application form and submit the required supporting documents.
  • Step 2 – Application review and shortlisting
    A Review Committee will assess all applications and supporting documents based on the selection criteria. They will then create a shortlist for the applicants in each category.
  • Step 3 – Judging
    An independent panel of judges will then review all the shortlisted applications and supporting documents and select twelve finalists across the three categories.
  • Step 4 – Site visits
    Each finalist organisation will receive a site visit from members of the Judging Panel. If appropriate, the site visits will also involve photography and filming and may result in possible media coverage for the finalist.
  • Step 5 – Final selection
    Following site visits the judging panel will reconvene to review the site visit reports and decide the Winner and Highly Commended organisations in each category.
  • Step 6 – Winner announced
    Winners are announced at an Awards presentation.


The winners in each category will receive $20,000 to assist their organisation, project or initiative and the highly commended winners in each category will each be awarded $10,000.

Additionally, all finalists receive an Awards package comprising:

  • A partnership with a leading RAP organisation, in an area self-identified by the finalist.
  • An award to commemorate their achievement.
  • Travel for two members from each finalist organisation to attend the Awards presentation event.
  • A communications package of photos and footage from the Judge’s site visit to their organisation.
  • Promotion as a finalist in the Indigenous Governance Awards on the Awards website and other coverage.

All organisations that apply for the Indigenous Governance Awards will receive feedback on their applications and governance from the judging panel. Applying for the Awards is a great opportunity to reflect on the governance of your organisation or group and to receive expert advice based on your application.