Queensland Reconciliation Award winners announced in Cairns

Published Wednesday, 01 June, 2022 at 08:30 PM


Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Craig Crawford

An inspiring social media project by the Queensland Police Service, Yarrabah Shire Council and Wugu Nyambil Employment Services has won the  Premier’s Reconciliation Award for 2022.

The Yarrie Yarns Project joins four other outstanding initiatives by Queensland businesses, community groups, educational institutions and government entities announced at the awards ceremony tonight in Cairns.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated the Yarrie Yarns team for the overall Premier’s Reconciliation Award, as well as the Partnership category award, for their commitment to revitalising community culture and storytelling.

“Yarrie Yarns is an empowering social change project, sharing First Nations stories for inspiration, motivation, education and reconciliation,” the Premier said.

“Since 2017 it’s celebrated the Yarrabah community, culture and connections throughout Australia, to combat negative impacts on education, health, employment and crime.

“It’s a great example of the ongoing commitment to reconciliation and inclusivity by Queensland organisations and individuals, which we acknowledge every year with all of these important awards.”

“I thank and congratulate all the nominees, and all of the 2022 Queensland Reconciliation Awards category recipients.”

  • Premier’s Reconciliation Award and Partnership Category – Queensland Police Service, Wugu Nyambil and Yarrabah Shire Council for Yarrie Yarns project.
  • Business Category – Baidam Solutions Pty Ltd for ICT industry pathways
  • Community Category – Hinchinbrook Shire Council for Hinchinbrook Indigenous Literacy Project
  • Education Category – Blackwater State High School for Blackwater State High School Reconciliation Action
  • Health and Wellbeing Category – The Pass the Fire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for The Boss Boxing initiative.

Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford applauded all the finalists for their positive actions towards reconciliation.

“Reconciliation requires us to be courageous in our commitment to truth-telling and honesty about our shared history,” Mr Crawford said.

“This takes ongoing work from government, business, the community – from each and every one of us.

“We can’t undo the past, but we can mend the present, and aspire to a bright new future.”

Queensland Reconciliation Awards Ambassador Johnathan Thurston said the 2022 recipients were challenging perceptions and sending powerful messages to Queenslanders.

“As Awards Ambassador, it is gratifying to see the power of this movement and the strengthening of pride within the communities,” Mr Thurston said.

“I would like to offer my congratulations and praise for these inspiring Queenslanders. I look forward to hearing more about the impact these programs will have in the years ahead”.

Winning initiatives across the five categories and the Premier’s Reconciliation Award received a share of $30,000 in prize money.

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

The awards are proudly supported by Bank of Queensland, The University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, James Cook University and Santos.

Visit qld.gov.au/reconciliation for more information.


Media Contact: Peter Michael 0477 948 091

Partnership (and Premier’s Reconciliation Award)

Queensland Police Service, Wugu Nyambil and Yarrabah Shire Council for the Yarrie Yarns Project

Yarrie Yarns is a social media project aspiring towards social change for the Yarrabah community. It shares First Nations stories, otherwise known as yarns, to inspire, motivate, educate, empower and promote reconciliation. Lead by the Queensland Police Service in partnership with the Yarrabah Shire Council and Wugu Nyambil Employment Services, their collaboration continually highlights the achievements of the Yarrabah community and its people.

The project commenced in Yarrabah in 2017 to celebrate the community, people, culture and the connections throughout Australia while highlighting achievements, opportunities, reconciliation, challenges and issues. It initially began to combat the negative portrayal of the community and to foster a sense of empowerment for the community. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Yarrie Yarns promoted a series 250 yarns for 250 years of reconciliation in Australia where achievements, culture, communities, connections and reconciliation were highlighted and celebrated.


Baidam Solutions

A skills shortage and a tendency to source projects offshore have meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have benefitted little from the booming information and communications technology (ICT) industry. Baidam Solutions, the nation’s leading Indigenous ICT security provider, takes a multipronged approach to ensuring this industry’s future benefits from Indigenous input.

In the past 18 months, Baidam Solutions has become the first Indigenous business in Australia to set up and fund university scholarships in perpetuity. To date, their initiative has already seen Indigenous peoples go from curious to accredited to entry-level employees in the ICT industry.

Their initiative provides clear pathways for accreditation and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The business aims to continue to create a space for Indigenous youth in the booming ICT and cybersecurity fields, ensuring that the commercial gains from the industry go back to local communities.


Hinchinbrook Shire Council for Hinchinbrook Indigenous Literacy Project

The Hinchinbrook Indigenous Literacy Project was the first collaboration involving Hinchinbrook Shire Council and all three First nations groups of the Shire – the Nwaigi, Bandjin and Warrgamay First Nations peoples. For the first time, through this project, Elders from the three First Nations groups embraced the opportunity to consult together. They have bridged gaps between the groups to produce culturally significant resources in all three languages to enable new connections to be established between families of children aged 0-5 years.

From the beginning of the project, the focus was on mutual respect and understanding of culture. Equal representation was prioritised as being a cornerstone of the project as well as building relationships and connections between the First Nations groups themselves and with the Hinchinbrook Shire Council. At its heart, this reconciliation initiative is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of the Hinchinbrook community.


Blackwater State High School for Blackwater State High School Reconciliation Action

Blackwater State High School is dedicated to educating the young people of Blackwater, a small town in regional Central Queensland. It is one of the larger population centres near the Aboriginal Shire of Woorabinda, and currently 19 per cent of the school’s 376 students identify as being First Nations Australians.

In late 2020, the school’s leadership team reflected on the need to build their cultural capability, particularly by continuing to strengthen their relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders in the community. Through this journey, Blackwater State High School began the process of developing their own Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

As a significant local educational institution that has both direct and indirect influence on the town, Blackwater State High School strove to use the RAP to foster reconciliation.  Some key steps in this process included developing a vision for reconciliation with staff, planning for school-led reconciliation awards, and consulting with the wider community on their plan.

Health and Wellbeing

Pass on the Fire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for The Boss Boxing

The Boss Boxing is an initiative of the Pass on the Fire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation. It is a First Nations-owned gym that aims to be a culturally safe and inclusive space that fosters healthy and positive relationships via sport and recreation activities. Based in Zillmere, the initiative was developed around local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and broader community needs of Brisbane’s northside to address issues of social inequity and the ensuing emotional wellbeing.

The volunteer-based initiative services the needs of the local community, including disadvantaged and at-risk groups. The Boss Boxing initiative offers mentoring and other programs and pathways to support the community and the youth. Members not only build on their physical strength, but also their character – to build their skills, determination and resilience.