Top contributors to local reconciliation celebrated at the annual HART Awards

Friday, 31 May 2019

The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and Reconciliation Victoria have announced the winners of the sixth annual HART Awards – that recognise community and local government contributions to reconciliation - at a ceremony today.

More than 100 guests including the Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek, local government representatives, Traditional Owners and Elders - attended the ceremony, held at Richmond’s Korin Gamadji Institute and live streamed on Melbourne’s first Aboriginal owned and managed radio station 3 Kool ‘N’ Deadly (3KND).

The HART Awards, supported by Bank Australia and Local Government Victoria, recognise local governments and community organisations that are Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together - Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together to build relationships, respect and understanding, and demonstrating a commitment to Aboriginal self-determination.

This year’s seventeen finalists showcased the diversity and strength of reconciliation activities across the state – including education initiatives, cultural markers, forums, cultural events and resource development.

VLGA President Cr Marg Attley said:

“The HART Awards showcase how community and local government can work together for reconciliation. It is very powerful, and the ceremony is such a wonderful way to acknowledge the great work that is being done. To see the work that is occurring in Schools and Early Years programs is gratifying. Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage, the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, rings true for all of those who have contributed to the HART Awards. My congratulations to everyone involved.”

Reconciliation Victoria CEO Diana David said:

“Today has been a celebration of the exciting work being driven by passionate people within our communities to make Victoria a better and more equitable state for everybody who calls it home. They show us what is possible when we all work together towards a stronger, more just and cohesive society. We applaud each of these initiatives for the exciting grassroots change they are creating and hope they inspire others to get involved – because reconciliation is everybody’s business.”  

The 2019 winners and highly commended award recipients are:

Local Government

WINNER: Glenelg Shire Council for their Demystifying History Documentary & Combined Citizenship Ceremony

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Darebin City Council for their Ongoing Commitment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and Reconciliation

Local Government – Schools & Early Years
WINNER: Darebin City Council for their Darebin Schools’ NAIDOC Yarning Conference 2018. Twenty-seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural educators shared their wisdom and skills with the students throughout the day, across nine concurrent and interactive cultural, sporting and storytelling workshops.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Wyndham City Council for Reconciliation Action at Scale - Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives. This is an overall approach putting Aboriginal perspectives at the forefront of programs and practice, which has been embraced by over 3,000 children and families in Wyndham.


WINNER: Whittlesea Reconciliation Group for Kulin Village at Whittlesea Community Festival. Dialogue between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members and a safe space for truth telling, in order to build a shared understanding of history and to lay the necessary foundation for the community to move forward.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Bunjil Nest Project - Balnarring Pre-School for their Womin djeka Balnarring Ngargee Festival including Book Launch.

To find out more please visit VLGA and Reconciliation Victoria’s websites: or .
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All winners received a prize, with the community organisation winner also awarded $1000 to support their reconciliation initiatives. 

The short-listed and winning initiatives have been profiled in a booklet and promoted online through Reconciliation Victoria, the VLGA, Bank Australia and Local Government Victoria, to provide inspiration to other councils, organisations and communities.


Media contacts: Liddy Clark (VLGA) 0403 542 411 |Lily Partland (Reconciliation Victoria) 0418 118 687