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Queensland Reconciliation Awards

Respect. Recognition. Reconciliation.

The finalists for the 2015 Queensland Reconciliation Awards have been announced.

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards program recognises businesses, community organisations, educational institutions and initiatives that are advancing reconciliation in Queensland.

They could be building cross-cultural understanding through employment or training initiatives, education, partnerships or engaging with their local community.

The awards offer a total of $25,000 in prize money across the following categories:

  • Business
  • Community
  • Education
  • Partnership

Reconciliation is deeply personal to me and, as a proud Indigenous man, it’s exciting to see the effort being taken by Queensland businesses, organisations, educational institutions and government in advancing reconciliation.

Johnathan Thurston, 2015 Awards Ambassador

We are now one step closer to announcing the recipients of the 2015 Queensland Reconciliation Awards, with the announcement of this year’s finalists. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday 28 May.

The following 16 initiatives have been selected as the 2015 finalists:


Supported by Indigenous Business Australia

Aboriginal Development Benefit Trust for Doomadgee Roadhouse Pty Ltd

Doomadgee Roadhouse is the result of a collaboration between the Aboriginal Development Benefit Trust (ADBT) and the Doomadgee Shire Council. The roadhouse is owned by the ADBT and one of the most successful examples of an Indigenous owned business in a remote area, benefiting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The roadhouse provides a vital service to the people of Doomadgee, as well as others travelling and doing business in the area. It employs up to 10 staff, of which 80 per cent are Indigenous.

The Doomadgee Roadhouse illustrates what can be achieved in an Indigenous community through the right partnerships, financial resourcing, good management and governance.

Brisbane Broncos for Brisbane Broncos Mentoring Program

The Brisbane Broncos Mentoring Program extends well beyond the core business of a professional team in the National Rugby League competition.

The program was implemented to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. It aims to provide Year 12 students at participating schools with the support, encouragement and assistance they need to complete their senior studies and transition into further study, training or employment.

In just over four years, the program has provided the opportunity for more than 650 students from Year 12 to reach their full potential by guiding them through a range of life skills and job readiness initiatives. It has achieved remarkable results, with 75 per cent of participants moving into full-time work or study on completion of their secondary education.

Dreamtime Learning and Noorla Heritage Resort for Choices for Change Program

Dreamtime Learning specialises in providing practical and effective training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitality workers. It offers a comprehensive program called Choices for Change which draws upon the skills of many organisations including specialists in business, literacy, numeracy, personal development, human resources and culture. 

The training framework has an emphasis on acquiring skills, building confidence and developing work habits to help the transition from non-employment to successful career development.

Dreamtime Learning has more than 280 graduates and 240 students in current training.  Since completing the program, 23 people have started their own business, 133 people have successfully obtained some form of employment and 153 have gone on to further study.

Gilimbaa for Reconciliation Action Plan Artwork Initiative

The Gilimbaa artwork creation process aims to educate audiences, share the diversity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and create a bespoke artwork with cultural meaning and significance.

The success of the artwork initiative is due to the inclusive space created when meeting with organisations to create an artwork that reflects their story. The process is educational, evokes understanding and allows self-expression and sharing of culture to create an organisation’s cultural story.

Being community based, the initiative extends beyond the transactional nature of a project through diverse creative applications and wide community reach.


Supported by Arrow Energy

Act for Kids for SafeKIDS Program

Act for Kids is an Australian charity providing free professional therapy and support services to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. The organisation currently operates five safe houses in West Cape York Peninsula (Aurukun, Napranum, Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw) and South in Doomadgee, as part of the SafeKIDS Program.

The SafeKIDS Program has 70 employees with 61 located in remote communities and 93 per cent identifying as Indigenous. SafeKIDS staff who had experienced trauma associated with issues including forced removal, participated in a program designed to help address and understand their own trauma. Through this training they are better able to provide caring, nurturing environments for children dealing with the loss associated with being removed from their homes.

The goal of the SafeKIDS Program is to increase the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care to remain connected to their community and culture, and to develop the community’s capacity to provide safe and nurturing care for children who are unable to live safely at home.

Blue Care Indigenous Services for The Hollingsworth Effect

Blue Care Hollingsworth Elders Village supports the unique aged care and disability needs of Indigenous communities in North Queensland. The village is a home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, where their families and community members can visit and feel welcome and culturally safe.

The facility is focused on improving community relations and engagement and has built a strong relationship over the years with the Traditional Owners on whose country the service is based.

Hollingsworth Elders Village provides employment, training and work experience to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students studying aged and disability care, and is recognised for providing practical steps to increase cross-cultural awareness.

Hockey Queensland for Remote and Indigenous Hockey Development Program, Goals for Life Program

The Remote and Indigenous Communities Hockey Development Program was developed in the knowledge that sport is an important tool that can be used to support and reinforce social change.

Goals for Life was designed specifically to reduce Indigenous disadvantage and put in place participation initiatives designed to re-affirm strategies to increase regular attendance at school, adopt healthy eating choices and provide employment opportunities to Indigenous youth, supporting them to become role models of the future.

Goals for Life has been delivering outcomes that assist in reducing Indigenous disadvantage and build a platform based on community respect and recognition to promote long term community change.

Yugambeh Museum Language and Heritage Research Centre for Yugambeh Mobo

Drawing on 30 years of work by successive generations of Elders and families of the Yugambeh Museum, Yugambeh Mobo is a community movement linking the community of South East Queensland to the Aboriginal stories, places, foods, songs, dances, language and culture of the region.

Yugambeh Mobo is a program aiming to unite the community through cultural pride and reconciliation and features a native gala dinner, free Indigenous festival and the formation of the Yugambeh Youth Choir and Didgeridoo Orchestra.

The name Yugambeh Mobo literally translates to Yugambeh tomorrow, referring to the kind of community we want to be leaving for our children of tomorrow. 


Supported by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance

Bray Park State School for BRING IT ON

The BRING IT ON project stands for Building Reconciliation for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Generations through Inclusivity, Truth and trust, Opportunities and New pathways. It has established and implemented innovative and sustainable strategies to foster engagement of Indigenous students: decrease absenteeism; build pride and promote cross-cultural perceptions, knowledge and understanding around reconciliation within Bray Park State School and the wider community.

The project has utilised elements of the arts, including music, performing and visual arts programs, targeted support, extra-curricular activities and community engagement.

BRING IT ON is building cross-cultural knowledge, understanding and skills, improving school culture, engaging the wider community and meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of the Bray Park State School students.

Queensland Ambulance Service for Cairns and Hinterland Local Ambulance Service Network, Indigenous Paramedic Program

A demographic analysis of the Cairns and Hinterland, and the Torres and Cape Local Ambulance Service Networks identified limited Indigenous applications amongst paramedic recruits applying for positions with the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).

In a commitment to rectify this, QAS commenced a project to inspire, engage and recruit Indigenous members of the community into a formal education and recruitment program that would pave their way to becoming qualified paramedics and first responders.

The impact of the Indigenous Paramedic Program has improved cultural engagement and support, guidance and career development, and community relations within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Cairns and Torres Strait Island regions. Due to the success of this initiative, the paramedic program is now being implemented throughout a number of locations around Queensland.

Queensland Ambulance Service for North West Ambulance Service Network, Indigenous Paramedic Program

The North West Local Ambulance Service Network (LASN) identified a need to enhance the interface between the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and local Indigenous populations, particularly in the communities of Doomadgee, Normanton and Mornington Island. More recently this program has been expanded with positions added in Mount Isa. Two Indigenous paramedic cadet students have now been appointed in this location.

The establishment of the Indigenous Paramedic Cadet Program in the North West LASN is a step forward for reconciliation in this area. The goal is to provide Indigenous people with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for them to care for their own communities as independent practitioners supported by the QAS. As the program moves forward and the number of Indigenous paramedics increases, it will be a positive example of what can be achieved both within their community and in a broader context.

This program is bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people both internally within the QAS and in broader community relations, engendering a closer relationship and understanding between the QAS and the communities being served.

Silkwood School for Silkwood Gaureima

Silkwood Gaureima, or story, is building connections to self, others and place through Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning. The program facilitates teaching and learning initiatives that focus on personal wellbeing and identity, social and cultural relationships and engagement with nature.

At Silkwood School, the intent is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s histories and cultures to be immediately visible and authentically embedded in the school gaureima, learning programs and in the physical environment.

Silkwood School endeavours to improve respect, understanding and connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories, through ongoing learning, exploration and community mentorship.


Supported by QGC

Kalwun Development Corporation and Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing for Jellurgal Cultural Centre

Jellurgal Cultural Centre is an initiative of Kalwun Development Corporation, established through a partnership arrangement with the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.

The cultural centre initiative is fully owned and operated by the local Aboriginal community and managed as a sustainable cultural tourism and information precinct based at the former Burleigh Head National Park Information Centre. Jellurgal is the Aboriginal name for Burleigh Headland, which was the stage for corroborees and ceremonies. It is fitting for a modern day Aboriginal cultural centre to be established at such a significant cultural site.

The centre provides the opportunity for local, domestic and international visitors to the Gold Coast to meet the Traditional Owners; embark on educational, cultural and tourism activities; and obtain or increase their understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal history and culture on the Gold Coast.

Queensland Police Service, Cherbourg Police Station and St Joseph’s School, Murgon for Cherbourg Junior Police Rangers

Cherbourg Junior Police Rangers was introduced into St Joseph’s School in June 2011 with the aim of building resilience through creating positive role models within the Cherbourg community and creating a sense of community spirit and pride in the students.

The rangers is an early intervention program for Indigenous youth aged 9 to 13, designed to provide practical life skills, develop leadership and teamwork skills, and enhance cultural awareness that minimises the risk of participants resorting to the misuse of alcohol, volatile substances and illicit drugs.

The program also provides a sense of pride and purpose, encouraging participants to respect themselves, their culture and the wider community.

Queensland Police Service, Doomadgee Police Station and Doomadgee People for Operation REPAIR

Operation REPAIR (Readily Establishing Police and Indigenous Relations) was devised to dramatically improve the relations between Doomadgee police and the local Indigenous community.

Often well outside of rostered work hours, Doomadgee police endeavour to promote cross-cultural understanding in both the workplace and within the community. The station has directly assisted the Doomadgee people in gaining employment, trained and funded local sporting teams, organised activities to combat boredom in the community and focused on crime prevention initiatives.

This holistic approach to improving local relations has led to improved levels of trust, opened the lines of communication, and created positive steps towards improving the quality of life and safety of the Doomadgee people.

Queensland Theatre Company and Sibelco Australia for Black Diggers

In 2011, the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) established an Indigenous program aimed at developing and producing Indigenous work and building audiences for Indigenous stories.

The success and profile of the QTC Indigenous Program attracted the attention of Belgian company Sibelco, who partnered with QTC to present a landmark production Black Diggers, which tells the stories of the Indigenous soldiers who served in World War I. An extraordinary all-male, all-Indigenous cast tells the story of these heroic men who were largely unrecognised by history.  

Following performances in Sydney and Brisbane, the play has received unanimous critical acclaim. Black Diggers toured nationally in early 2015 and negotiations are underway to tour the show internationally. Black Diggers has become one of QTC’s most successful productions and promotes cross-cultural understanding by telling the story of Indigenous diggers in a way that is accessible to all audiences.

2015 awards sponsors

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards is an initiative of the Queensland Government through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

Proudly supported by:


Supported by Indigenous Business Australia

Indigenous Business Australia logo


Supported by Arrow Energy

Arrow Energy logo


Supported by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance logo


Supported by QGC

QGC logo

Media partners

Radio partner

612 ABC Brisbane and ABC Local Radio

612 ABC Brisbane and ABC Local Radio

Print partner

Koori Mail

Koori Mail logo

Previous winners

Social media

Follow Queensland Reconciliation Awards on Instagram @QLDReconciliationAwards or by searching #ReconciliationQLD for regular updates on the program and information about past winners and finalists.

Contact details

Subscribe to the ‘A state of celebration’ eNewsletter for monthly updates about awards and events.

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

Last updated
20 May, 2015

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