It is with great sadness that we accept the results of yesterday’s Referendum. This is a dark day for Australia, and we are heartbroken for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, staff, community members and loved ones.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart called on Australians to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, recognising their 65,000+ years of wisdom and knowledge. It called on us to work together in building a brighter and more inclusive future for all who call this country home. Unfortunately, those calls were not answered, and the impact of this result will be felt for years to come.
We find some comfort in the work being done towards Voice, Treaty and Truth here in Victoria. The democratically elected First Peoples Assembly of Victoria is creating the framework and ground rules that will enable Traditional Owners of Country to negotiate Treaties with the Victorian Government. This is a significant step in the right direction and one we hope sets the tone across Australia.
In the wake of this Referendum, we recommit our support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the need for Voice, Treaty and Truth. We see these as essential steps to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination, and a more equitable future for all Australians. We will continue to do all we can to engage with our community in supporting these steps and better outcomes for First Nations peoples. We will also continue to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to have their voice heard and work to influence the systems that impact this. We will centre First Nations voices throughout our organisation and uphold justice, equity and self-determination in how community members engage with our services.
Our hearts are with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, staff and community members. We will be working with them to understand and offer the supports they need. Their wellbeing is deeply important to us, and we will do all we can to help them navigate this difficult time.
If you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and want to speak to someone about your thoughts and feelings on the Referendum, we encourage you to reach out to loved ones or contact 13YARN (13 92 76) for support. Anyone can also reach out to Beyond Blue’s Support Line, 1300 22 4636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.