About Us

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute is a national centre of governance excellence, connecting Indigenous Australians to world-class governance practice, informing effective policy, providing accessible research, disseminating stories that celebrate outstanding success and solutions, and delivering professional development opportunities to meet the self-determined governance needs of Indigenous people.

Australian Indigenous Women

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute was incorporated on the 29 May 2012. It is the product of years of research, debate, consultation and intensive lobbying by those who believed in its vision. The following is a brief account of some of the significant moments towards the development of AIGI.

2001 - The Indigenous Governance Forum

In 2001, Reconciliation Australia hosted an international “Indigenous Governance Conference” in Canberra. The aim was to discuss what works in building effective governance on the ground, what doesn’t work and why. The forum recommended that detailed research into the conditions and future opportunities of Indigenous Governance in Australia and make recommendations as to how Indigenous governance building could be supported.

2002 - 2008 - Indigenous Community Governance (ICG) Research Paper

In response to the forum’s request, Reconciliation Australia and the Centre for Aboriginal Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University obtained funding from the Australian Research Council to undertake the necessary research in remote, rural and urban locations. The Indigenous Community Research Project received additional funding support from the Commonwealth, West Australian and Northern Territory governments.

To rebuild and reinvigorate Indigenous governance, the ICG Project’s extensive field research pinpointed the need for Indigenous access to high-quality governance information, organisational and developmental tools, sustained facilitation expertise, and place-based capacity-building. This would be in parallel with enabling government policy and funding frameworks. Such a combination was seen as critical to supporting Indigenous nations, communities and organisations in rebuilding their governance.

In order to achieve this goal in a coordinated way, the ICG Project recommended the creation of an Australian Indigenous Institute of Governance ¹. The aims of the Institute would be to:

  • Foster, encourage, communicate and disseminate best practice in Indigenous governance and design;
  • Encourage, facilitate and, where practicable, collaborate with relevant bodies at the national, state, territory and local levels to develop practical, culturally-informed educational and training materials, tools and resources to support the delivery of governance and organisational development at the local level;
  • Facilitate and implement the development of ‘train the governance trainer’ and mentoring courses, particularly targeted at developing a sustainable pool of Indigenous people with the requisite professional skills; and
  • Commission and undertake applied research to support those functions.’ ²

  • ICG Year Two Research Findings, CAEPR Working Paper No 36, 2007.
  • ibid.

2008 - The consultation process commences

This recommendation prompted a subsequent scoping project, commissioned by Reconciliation Australia and Social Ventures Australia (SVA). With funding from SVA, Ms Jodie Sizer from Ingenuity Australia was engaged to lead the consultation process with support from independent consultant Ms Tanya Hosch. The consultation process was designed to consider:

  • the level of support in Australia for an Indigenous governance institute;
  • the potential roles AIGI would undertake; and
  • possible operational models and further considerations for establishing an AIGI.Wide-ranging consultations were undertaken as a part of this process during 2008 with Indigenous community leaders and representatives, persons with existing expertise in the governance sector including researchers and consultants, and representatives from the government and private sectors.Completed in February 2009, the ‘Report on the Consultation on the Australian Institute for Indigenous Governance’ (Jodie Sizer) provided a ‘green light’ for the establishment of AIGI, indicating strong support by the majority of stakeholders from each of the consulted groups. The report presented eight recommendations as to the future role and functions of AIGI, and provided direction as to its establishment.The recommendations received welcome support from the Australian Coordinator-General in his quarterly report which stated that:‘active consideration should also be given to resourcing an independent centre of excellence for Indigenous governance to develop best practice, disseminate education and training material, train governance trainers, develop mentoring programs, parent with key stakeholders, and undertake and commission research.’¹

  1. . Australian Coordinator-General, Six Monthly Report, 2009-10, page 65.

2008 - Establishment of the steering committee

Following the completion of the consultation report, a steering committee was formed late in 2008 to help drive the AIGI concept by raising awareness of Indigenous governance issues, negotiating partnerships and funds, and through the development of a strategy to guide the path forward.

Chaired by Professor Mick Dodson (co-chair of Reconciliation Australia), with Jason Glanville (now Director of NCIE and Board Director of Reconciliation Australia) as Deputy Chair, and under the auspices of both Reconciliation Australia and Social Ventures Australia, the steering committee has comprised at various times well-known and active professionals in the Indigenous governance space up until its incorporation. These include:

  • Professor Mick Dodson, Director, ANU National Centre for Indigenous Studies
  • Jason Glanville, CEO of National Centre for Indigenous Excellence
  • Leah Armstrong, CEO of Reconciliation Australia
  • Jodie Sizer, Director, Ingenuity Australia
  • Tanya Hosch, Deputy Campaign Director, Recognise
  • Dr Diane Smith, Anthropologist and governance researcher
  • Jane Pound, Legal Counsel, Foundation for Young Australians (formerly Director Victoria, Social Ventures Australia).

Tanya Hosch, who had been heavily involved in advocating Indigenous governance issues, was seconded from the steering committee in 2011 to work as project director and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Institute and securing further funds.

2010 - Development of the Business Case

In 2010, the steering committee commissioned the development of a more detailed business case for AIGI. Completed by Jodie Sizer of Ingenuity Australia in late 2010, the Business Case provided the foundation needed for the establishment of AIGI and outlined a number of key steps necessary to achieve this. This included potential organisational structures, project partners and objectives for AIGI.

The important step of formal incorporation of AIGI was achieved on 29 May 2012, and the following members of the steering committee agreed to take on the role of inaugural Board members.

  • Professor Mick Dodson, Director, ANU National Centre for Indigenous Studies
  • Jason Glanville, CEO of National Centre for Indigenous Excellence
  • Jodie Sizer, Director, Ingenuity Australia
  • Tanya Hosch, Deputy Campaign Director, Recognise
  • Dr Diane Smith, Anthropologist and governance researcher
  • Jane Pound, Legal Counsel, Foundation for Young Australians.


Since the development of the initial Business Case, AIGI has made significant inroads towards its vision. With the goal of securing the long term sustainability of the organisation, the steering committee took a considered approach to maturity, including an incremental approach to establishment involving:

  • securing funding from the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Fund to engage a project director to assist in formerly structuring and establishing the organisation;
  • engaging Jason Eades of Eades Consulting Group to provide advice and guidance throughout the development process;
  • commissioning branding for the creation of a marketing strategy and logo;
  • developing (with the assistance from law firm Herbet Smith Freehills), AIGI’s initial policies and guidelines, including a board governance charter and vision;
  • working with various government departments (including FAHCSIA and Infrastructure Australia) to secure grant funding to contribute to the establishment of AIGI;
  • securing significant philanthropic funding to aid the development of a website and operational capacity for AIGI;
  • securing a long-term partnership with Reconciliation Australia for the formal handover of the Indigenous Governance Toolkit and joint partnering in the Australian Indigenous Governance Awards.

2019 - present - Business Plan and progress thus far

AIGI commenced the year with new Strategic Plan 2019 – 2024 which was developed in collaboration with AIGI’s Board.  AIGI’s key strategic priorities include:

  1. Working with Indigenous people, communities, nations & organisations to support self-determined governance
  2. Enquiry, Sharing & learning through collaboration & co-design to contribute to a body of knowledge and research about nation building and self-governance.
  3. Communication and advocacy to promote Indigenous rights for self-governance and inform effective policy and service delivery outcomes.
  4. Identifying & developing a suite of tools and resources for Indigenous people, communities, nations and organisations to incorporate into their governance practices.
  • AIGI will also continue to build and maintain our own organisational development and excellence in Indigenous governance.
  • AIGI’s continued expansion has seen our staff team grow and we have expanded our operations this year with staff based in Canberra, Brisbane, and Sydney.
  • The development of a new brand and have a re-designed website which will be supported by a communications and digital engagement strategy.
  • AIGI has continued to work with our key partners and stakeholders including Reconciliation Australia on shared activities under the Indigenous Governance Program.
  • With the Australian National University where we have submitted an ARC Linkage Grant application for a substantial research project with key academic partners at ANU and a number of community partners from across the country.
  • Responding to demand convened our second Indigenous Youth in Governance Masterclass, this time in Darwin which saw participants from regional and remote communities in the Northern Territory.  The masterclass was supported by a number of key AIGI partners including, the Lowitja Institute, the Aboriginal Management and Governance Program within the Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory; and, the BHP Foundation.
  • In partnership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre convened our first Indigenous Leadership and Governance Symposium: Our Voice Our Truth – Good Governance through Strong Leadership. The event brought together an array of community, not-for-profit and government sector leaders who gave presentations on self-determination, governance, community leadership and ways in which to empower the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Commenced to roll out of activities under our training and development program including governance workshops including with the 10 Deserts Project, a key AIGI partner.
  • AIGI has also continued our collaboration with our global Indigenous partners and have worked to grow this network throughout the year, which will culminate in the Common Roots Common Futures Symposium being hosted by the University of Wakaito in New Zealand.
  • AIGI continues to work with and be supported by our key funding partners, the BHP Foundation and the Annamila Foundation and we appreciate their ongoing support.

Brand Story

Our logo represents People and ideas gathering to inform decisions. The logo and cultural design was created by Jenna Lee from Gilimbaa.

Brand Story Logo

At the center of the logo sits the campfire representing governance. Surrounding the warm fire people gather representing the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as the 7 types of Indigenous Governance; Laws and Rules, Meanings, Powers, Values, Knowledge, Ideas and Beliefs.

The white circles are the ideas and perspectives that each individual brings to the table. The yellow dots are the ideas that are formed in collaboration. Radiating out from the logo is the positive effects of Indigenous Governance which can be felt through all areas of life.

Diverse as the land and sea and EVERYTHING in between.

The diverse colours of the logo represent the vast and vivid landscapes of Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples connection to this land.

Brand Story Artwork

Our ‘Elements of Governance’ artwork was created to extend and strengthen the story of our brand. It represents the 7 types of Indigenous Governance; Laws and Rules, Meanings, Powers, Values, Knowledge, Ideas and Beliefs.

Its function is to further the strength of the brand. The artwork depicts the many landscapes, people and ideas coming together, representing the critical work of AIGI.

This graphic can be pulled apart, cropped and used in many ways to add brand flavor to a range of applications.