The finalists for the 2017 Community HART Awards have been announced!

The VLGA and Reconciliation Victoria are thrilled to announce the finalists of this year’s Community HART (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) Awards. There are 14 finalists split over three categories. For the first time we have split the community category into small and large community organisations/groups to help make the judging process fair and equitable. 

 The 2017 Finalists  - (read the bio's of all the finalists here)

Local Government
Rural City of Wangaratta - Bullawah Cultural Trail Project
City of Ballarat – Ballarat Library
City of Casey - Valley Brook Kindergarten Yarning Networks and Workshops
Gannawarra Shire - Stolen Generations
Mildura Rural City Council - Plaque; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Project and
Yarra Ranges Council - The Urban   Indigenous Community, Connection to Culture, Country, Identity and Health research project

Small Community Organisation/Group:
Mullagh Wills Foundation - Reconciliation through Sport - “Journey to the G”;
Phoenix FM - Koori Shout-Out
Tarerer Gunditj Project Association Inc - Tarerer Festival, 'Sharing Culture'
Warrnambool Community Garden Inc. - Indigenous recognition seat

Large Community Organisation/Group:
CoHealth - Wellness Dreaming – Prevention Team
Port Fairy Folk Festival Committee Inc. - 2017 Opening Ceremony Taarndeen Chuurnuurn – ‘Big River’ – The Milky Way
The Sovereign Hill Museums Association/ Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation t/a Wadawurrung : Gnarrwirring Ngitj (‘Learning Together’) Festival
Victorian Aboriginal Health Service - Healthy Lifestyle Team


About the HART Awards

The Community HART Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise local governments and community organisations that are advancing reconciliation in Victoria.

Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association present the awards, with support from Bank Australia and LGV.

An award ceremony will be held during Reconciliation Week at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square where winners will receive a prize in addition to the awardThe community organisation winner will also be awarded $1000 to support their reconciliation initiatives.

The Awards recognise Victorian partnerships and initiatives that contribute to  reconciliation outcomes at a local level.  Nominations should be for initiatives that demonstrate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together, and initiatives that have contributed to relationships, respect and understanding. You can read about the 2015 & 2016 finalists and winners on our dedicated website page.


2017 Key dates

Award ceremony - Friday June 2, during Reconciliation Week, from 1pm at the Koorie Heritage Trust.


Key Documents

For any queries on the awards process please contact us.

Reconciliation Victoria: or 0411 706 020

The VLGA: or 9349 7999



Previous Awards

2016 HART Awards

City of Yarra and Reconciliation in the Park (Geelong) were last week announced as winners of the Community HART Awards 2016. 

The City of Yarra received the Local Government Award for its Connecting with the Aboriginal History of Yarra: A Teachers’ Resource. The resource is a much needed toolkit for the local community and provides local teachers with a roadmap for teaching local Aboriginal history and engaging with Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri people.

Reconciliation in the Park (Geelong), conducted by Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group & Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, contributes to local relationships between Aboriginal people and the wider community.

Reconciliation Victoria Co-Chair, Belinda Duarte says “in their third year, the Community HART Awards make a significant contribution to our national journey of healing and reconciliation”. Ms Duarte goes on to say that the HART Awards “shine a light on the local initiatives and champions making a real difference in their communities, so that others might take ideas and inspiration forward into their own workplaces and communities”.

The City of Whittlesea and Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation also received special commendation for their initiatives in support of reconciliation in their communities.

Download the 2016 HART Awards Booklet with info on all this year's finalists

Bank Australia’s support of the Community HART awards is part of the bank’s commitment to increase awareness about reconciliation and contribute to improved opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Community HART Awards were presented at an event in Melbourne on Friday 3 June 2016 at the Koorie Heritage Trust, which falls on Mabo Day during Reconciliation Week.

Winners received a one-off piece of original artwork by local Aboriginal artist Emma Bamblett. The community organisation winner was also awarded $1000 to support their reconciliation initiatives. 

Media Contact: Damian O'Keefe (Reconciliation Victoria) 0427 030 545, Justin Kann (VLGA), 0419 639 514

Photos: Barbara Oehring


2015 Awards

On Thursday 28 May, at the start of Reconciliation Week, the VLGA and Reconciliation Victoria presented the 2015 Community HART Awards at the Korin Gamadji Institute in Richmond. Featuring a stirring performance by legendary singer songwriter, Kutcha Edwards, this was an afternoon of great celebration, as we recognised the passionate and dedicated individuals who work together to bring about mutual understanding and respect between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


Uncle Colin Hunter performing a Welcome to Country.


The Deadly Dancers who were Highly Commended at last year's awards.

2015 Winners

The diversity of entrants this year showed how there is a myriad of ways that communities can work toward reconciliation - and this made the judges' decision extremely difficult!

Each of the 12 finalists showed how true reconciliation can only come from having two-way conversations in order to develop mutual respect and understanding.

Congratulations to the well-deserving winners Shearwater Festival Working Group for the annual Shearwater Festival on Phillip Island (community category, nominated by Bass Coast Shire Council) and Yarra City Council for the Smith Street Dreaming project (local government category)

Highly commended were Geelong’s Deadly Dancers and Corrina O’Toole;Uncle Boydie’s Dream TeamDarebin City Council and the Western Regional Local Government Reconciliation Network – comprised of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham City).

You can read about each of the winners and all of the 2015 finalists in the 2015 Community HART booklet.

Partnership with Bank Australia

We were thrilled to be joined by Steven Lynch of Bank Australia at the 2015 Award presentation event, where it was officially announced that Bank Australia is now the principal supporter of the Community HART Awards!

2014 Awards

The inaugural Community HART Award winners were held on June 5th at Korin Gamadji Institute in Richmond. 

Awards were presented to:

Local Government Category

Winner: Glenelg Shire for the Glenelg Aboriginal Partnership

Highly Commended: Mornington Peninsula Shire for its Aboriginal Support and Development Team.

Community Organisation category

Winner: Northern Indigenous Employment Working Group

Highly Commended: Framlingham Aboriginal Community for its 150th Anniversary Celebration.