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Queensland Reconciliation Awards

Respect. Recognition. Reconciliation.

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards program recognises businesses, community organisations, educational institutions and initiatives that are advancing reconciliation in Queensland. The awards offer a total of $25,000 in prize money across five categories: Business, Education, Community, Partnership and the Premier’s Reconciliation Award.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Queensland Reconciliation Awards. The recipients were announced at a ceremony in Townsville on Tuesday 27 May 2014.

2014 winners and finalists


Indigenous Business  Australia logo

Supported by Indigenous Business Australia

Winner: Island & Cape for Unity Through Enterprise

Island & Cape operates in remote areas of Far North Queensland and Cape York Peninsula, employing 100 staff of which 90 per cent are Indigenous. Over the past 10 years, Island & Cape has built cross-cultural understanding through its employment and training initiatives, education, partnerships and engagement with local communities.

Island & Cape initiatives include Indigenous traineeships and in-job training programs for staff, appointment of a full-time nutritionist, in-store sugar awareness displays, working with local Indigenous farmers to supply locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as replacing deep fryers in takeaway stores with healthy ovens. These initiatives have positively impacted on the Indigenous communities in which Island & Cape stores are located.

Highly Commended: Carbon Media for Handball Heroes

In 2013, Carbon Media filmed and produced Handball Heroes, an action-packed television series for 5 to 12 year olds that aired 20 episodes on ABC3. Using handball as a tool to promote diversity and reconciliation, Handball Heroes depicts children from a diverse range of backgrounds in a positive and engaging way, promoting positive family, education and health values and cross-cultural understanding amongst Australian children.

The program was filmed in both urban and remote communities in Queensland and New South Wales. It involved a cast and crew (including children) consisting of 50 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation. Handball Heroes unites Australian children through a shared love of handball and promotes reconciliation for the next generation.

Finalist: QGC

Through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Training and Business Development Strategy and Reconciliation Action Plan, QGC works to deliver practical actions that promote reconciliation. QGC’s multi-faceted approach to reconciliation aims to maximise opportunities for Indigenous people and enterprises and build cultural awareness.

Indigenous employees are supported with ongoing career management, training and development opportunities plus an Indigenous mentor scheme. QGC also helps Indigenous companies access trading and contracting opportunities and ensure appointed contractors develop appropriate Indigenous Participation Plans.

Finalist: Sea Swift

Sea Swift is a distribution business that supplies essential goods and services to remote communities in the Torres Strait Islands, Cape York Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria and Northern Queensland. Indigenous employees comprise 15 per cent of the 400 strong workforce, and are supported through training, upskilling and development opportunities, as well as school-to-industry traineeships and a cadetship program.

Sea Swift supports the local tourism industry through the operation of the MV Trinity Bay, the last passenger cargo ship in Australia, which transports up to 40 tourists each week. Sea Swift also provides sponsorship and donations to numerous sporting, cultural, educational and organisations in the communities it services.


Leighton Contractors logo

Supported by Leighton Contractors

Winner: Kirwan State High School for Excellence in Indigenous Education

Kirwan State High School is one of the largest secondary schools in Queensland, with 394 students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. The school’s Excellence in Indigenous Education Strategy is embedded into its practices and demonstrated by significant improvements in Indigenous student outcomes. 

Increased attendance rates and student retention have been achieved through teachers building strong relationships with students, communicating high expectations and helping Indigenous students set goals around attendance.  The Young Indigenous Leadership Program facilitates an enhanced presence of Indigenous leadership, while cross-cultural understanding is promoted through teaching Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum and celebrating Indigenous students’ achievements.

Highly Commended: Koobara Aboriginal and Islander Kindergarten

The Koobara Aboriginal and Islander Kindergarten was established in 1974 by a small group of Aboriginal mothers who believed a good educational foundation would prepare children to enter primary school and achieve better outcomes later in life. Ninety per cent of children attending Koobara are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background.

Koobara’s team of early childhood educators delivers a program rich in culture that incorporates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songs, dance and stories into classrooms and involves children in all significant cultural events. Koobara is recognised by non-Indigenous organisations as a centre for the community that facilitates the connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

Finalist: Bray Park State School for BRING IT ON

Bray Park State School’s philosophy on reconciliation for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, families and community is a holistic approach built on inclusivity, truth and trust, and the provision of opportunities to create new and sustainable pathways.

Through BRING IT ON, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are engaged in building cross-cultural understanding and literacy skills, including a ukulele program, native garden and yarning circle, and numerous sporting, cultural and art activities. Students have also included a new school song focusing on reconciliation, pride, unitedness, believing, achieving and succeeding, which is sung weekly by the whole school.

Finalist: Spinifex State College Mount Isa for Young, Black and Deadly

In 2012, Spinifex State College Mount Isa introduced the Young, Black and Deadly (YBD) program, which identifies students in years 9 and 10 who demonstrate interest in leadership, and encourages the students to achieve their best, stay engaged in learning and make a successful transition to the senior phase of schooling.

The YBD program has encouraged students to continue their schooling through building awareness and pride in their heritage. It also supports and empowers students to make a difference and build strong futures for themselves, and others, in the school and wider community.



Supported by Thiess

Winner: South Cape York Catchments

South Cape York Catchments (SCYC) bring together Traditional Owners, Indigenous organisations, volunteers, scientists and schools to protect and promote the region’s rich cultural heritage and environment. By establishing Indigenous Land and Sea ranger teams in Laura and Melsonby, SCYC supports Traditional Owners to work on country and pass on cultural heritage to younger generations.

SCYC initiatives provide greater equity for Aboriginal people in ranger communities through employment, training and career development opportunities, as well as building the economic potential of cultural tourism, protecting cultural heritage sites for future generations and promoting wider community awareness of Aboriginal culture.

Highly Commended: Cairns Regional Council for Reconciliation Action Plan

As one of only three councils in Queensland with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), Cairns Regional Council works to support reconciliation through the areas of respect, relationships and opportunities. With the First Peoples Advisory Committee now an integral part of Cairns Regional Council’s operation it is well positioned to provide a leadership role and contribute to the reconciliation process within the organisation and wider community. 

Endorsed in April 2013, key RAP actions include reconciliation community forums, cultural awareness training for staff, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander story telling in council libraries, partnerships with Traditional Owners to support local projects and training programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to increase employment opportunities.

Finalist: Yugambeh Museum for Write Into Art

Write Into Art was developed in 2013 in response to Aboriginal community members, educators and non-Indigenous people requesting ways to access the original Aboriginal language of the Yugambeh region and learn more about the local culture. The project includes Queensland’s first Aboriginal language dictionary app for iPhones and androids and Australia’s first Aboriginal haiku poetry program open to students of all ages.

The project continues to grow and gain support not only in the local Gold Coast region, but also across Queensland and nationally. Many other communities are currently working with the Yugambeh Museum to have their language included on the app and the Write Into Art project introduced into their communities.

Finalist: Queensland Rugby Union for Queensland Reds Indigenous Program

The Queensland Reds Indigenous Program (QRIP) was established in 2010. Initially delivered in the Mornington Island and Doomadgee communities, the program has continued to expand, now active in communities of Yarrabah, Woorabinda and Cherbourg, as well as within urban areas.

Aligned to the Closing the Gap commitment, the QRIP focuses on providing a better future for Indigenous children using a ‘crayon to career’ approach to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians. The program endeavours to support and encourage young Indigenous Queenslanders to stay in school, seek employment and further training, and as a result, become a leader within their community.


BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance logo

Supported by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance

Winner: Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences for Mungalla Wetlands Biodiversity Project

When the environmental integrity of the Mungalla wetlands and waterways was under threat from introduced weeds, the Mungalla Wetlands Biodiversity Project was established–a partnership between Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.

Originally formed to develop a management strategy for the wetlands, the partnership has continued to grow over the last 10 years, bringing together the knowledge of the Indigenous people of Mungalla with the technical expertise of CSIRO scientists. In a relationship built on cross-cultural understanding, learning and awareness, staff, volunteers, Traditional Owners and the wider community work together to not only eradicate weeds from the Mungalla wetlands but also strengthen reconciliation within their community.

Highly Commended: Yugambeh Museum and Dreamworld for Dreamworld Corroboree

Dreamworld Corroboreeis Australia’s first Indigenous themed attraction within a major theme park. Opened in February 2014, Dreamworld Corroboree brings together over three years of collaboration to present the stories, as told by Elders and community storytellers, from 22 different Indigenous peoples across Australia.

Visitors to the precinct are exposed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through an interactive and educational experience that includes live entertainment, a short film telling the creation story of the Yugambeh country and are greeted in the traditional Yugambeh language. Dreamworld Corroboree is inspiring local young Indigenous people while also celebrating the traditional culture, stories, dance and bush tucker of Indigenous Australians.

Finalist: Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association (Ipswich), and Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs for Ipswich PCYC–Braking The Cycle

The Braking the Cycle program delivers positive social outcomes for local youth through a holistic model incorporating road safety, employment and mentoring. The program targets young people who are disadvantaged, do not have access to a vehicle or a parent/guardian with an open licence, or those without the financial means to undertake 100 hours of compulsory driver training prior to gaining a licence.

Since its inception in 2012, the Ipswich program has provided 5500 supervised driving hours to over 100 youth through matching them with community mentors and volunteers. To date, 70 youths have completed the program and received a licence, with 20 per cent being Indigenous. This practical application of reconciliation provides an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth and Elders to work together and boasts a 60% employment rate for program graduates.

Finalist: Herbert Smith Freehills and Yalari partnership

Since 2005, global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has partnered with Yalari to support Yalari’s mission to educate and empower Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities to bring about generational change. In 2013, the partnership refreshed its strategic outlook and developed the national CYCLE partnership–Collaboration with Yalari to Connect, Lead and Excel.

Herbert Smith Freehills provides legal services, expertise in corporate governance and professional resources to Yalari. Staff also volunteer time to assist with tutoring, mentoring and providing one-on-one business skills and networking advice to the students. Together HSF and Yalari work to provide trusted and quality educational opportunities for Indigenous children to achieve positive outcomes for themselves and their families.

Premier’s Reconciliation Award

Winner: Yugambeh Museum and Dreamworld for Dreamworld Corroboree

Dreamworld Corroboree is Australia’s first Indigenous themed attraction within a major theme park. Opened in February 2014, Dreamworld Corroboree brings together over three years of collaboration to present the stories, as told by Elders and community storytellers, from 22 different Indigenous peoples across Australia.

Visitors to the precinct are exposed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through an interactive and educational experience that includes live entertainment, a short film telling the creation story of the Yugambeh country and are greeted in the traditional Yugambeh language. Dreamworld Corroboree is inspiring local young Indigenous people while also celebrating the traditional culture, stories, dance and bush tucker of Indigenous Australians.

2014 Media partners

ABC Local radio logo     Koori Mail logo


Previous winners

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards is an initiative of the Queensland Government and proudly supported by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Indigenous Business Australia, Leighton Contractors, Thiess, ABC Local Radio and Koori Mail.

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The deadly stories campaign celebrates achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their communities across Queensland.

Last updated
25 July, 2014

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