As one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leader put it:


“Australian governments may not see us as a nation, but we are going to act like a nation, in every way we can.”

(Tom Day, CEO Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC)

One of the greatest challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today is exercising self-determination to:


  • govern themselves in ways that are meaningful
  • initiate economic development that is aligned to cultural and collective priorities
  • make laws and decisions that solve social problems, and balance cultural integrity with change
  • shape relations with wider Australia in ways of their own choosing.


But new stories of nation building resourcefulness, creativity and success – as realised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples themselves – are surfacing.

Indigenous Governance Toolkit

Our Toolkit is a free online resource developed to support Indigenous communities and organisations to strengthen their governance practices. It offers a comprehensive collection of practical information, tools, templates, case studies and videos.


9.0 Governance for nation rebuilding and development


9.1 What is nation rebuilding?


9.2 Governance for nation rebuilding


9.3 Governance for sustained development


9.4 Networked governance


9.5 Kick-starting the process of nation rebuilding


9.6 Case Studies

Other resources

Factsheet > Nation building and development

Governance for nation building is about the practical mechanisms that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use to collectively organise how they go about trying to get the things done that matter most to them. It is self-determination in action.


View factsheet


View all resources


Nation rebuilding – the processes by which an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation enhances its own foundational capacity for effective self-governance and for self-determined community and economic development. Nation rebuilding is about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can pull together the tools (such as the processes, checks, balances and structures) they need to build the futures that they want, and can put them into place.


See our Glossary for more definitions of governance-related terminology.

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