Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous Governance Awards

Two Indigenous enterprises in the fields of financial services and the arts have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Indigenous business at the Indigenous Governance Awards.

The Indigenous Governance Awards are held by Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton to identify, celebrate and promote effective Indigenous governance.

The Traditional Credit Union and Warakurna Artists have demonstrated how they can turn big ideas into reality, through hard work, creative thinking and good leadership.

The Traditional Credit Union was established in the small community of Milingimbi to provide quality financial services tailored to the needs of local people. The Union has more than 13,000 members, $10 million in deposits and 12 branches across the Northern Territory.

Warakurna Artists support Indigenous artists in the production, marketing and sale of their artworks, while fostering professional development, employment and access to small business opportunities.

In recognition of their achievements, the Australian Government has provided $50,000 for four staff members to participate in a leadership program in the United States to broaden and develop their business management and governance skills.

The delegation will be hosted by Professor Stephen Cornell, who is the Co-Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

They have been invited to visit communities and meet with a number of key leaders, before attending the 2008 Honoring Nations ceremony, as part of the National Congress of American Indians.

This two way exchange of information and knowledge with leaders of native American enterprises will give them a unique insight into the start-up, operating and ongoing challenges facing Indigenous businesses around the world.

The delegation will be able to share this knowledge with Indigenous businesses and communities when they return.

Congratulations to all participants and to Reconciliation Australia and BHP Billiton for their leadership and vision in creating these important awards.