Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Source: The Wimmera Mail Times Reporter Erin Witmiz.
A HORSHAM woman has vowed to make positive changes in her community and is vying for the spot on the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria.
The Assembly is the first of its kind in Australia and will be the voice of Aboriginal people during the next phase of the treaty process.
The group will be independent and will work with the state government in preparation for treaty negations.
There will be elections for the assembly from September 16 - October 20, with all Indigenous Australians over the age of 16 in Victoria eligible to vote.
Horsham's Annie Moore has put up her hand to be part of the process, nominating herself as a candidate for the assembly.
Ms Moore is a Wotjobaluk elder, who grew up in Ballarat.
She was one of 11 children. Ms Moore and eight of her siblings were removed from their parents as part of the stolen generation.
Her parents grew up in Dimboola.
"I didn't know my family until I was in my early 20s and I always felt disconnected growing up," she said.
"I grew up in a nuclear family and I didn't know anything about kinship until I was older and came back to Country."
She is a full-time carer and a mother of five children.
Ms Moore said she wanted to be part of the assembly because she wanted to stand up for the treaty process.
She said treaty meant different things to different people.
"For me, it's about having a voice for the stolen generation and a voice for our youth," she said.
"It can bring a sense of calm to our community.
"This is not about my story though, it is about moving forward and being part of a bigger movement.
"Treaty is about listening to what our community has to say."
Ms Moore said there were lots of issues that affected the Indigenous population in the region.
"Things like stolen land, closure for the stolen generation, housing, mental health and domestic violence," she said.
"We need to look at how we can fix these problems. We need to make some positive outcomes for our people and I want to make a positive change for my community."
The assembly will be made up of 21 elected candidates, as well as one representative from each of the 11 formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.
The assembly will work alongside the state government to set up a treaty negotiating framework, a treaty authority and a self-determination fund.
Australia is the only developed Commonwealth nation without treaties with its Indigenous population.
Ms Moore said the state government needed to move forward with the treaty process.
"They need to be held accountable - it is no good saying sorry and then nothing happens," she said.
"There is still a lot of ignorance in our society about us - lots of people think we get handouts, but we don't, I pay rent like everyone else.
"We are all one voice and we will stand up and be heard.
"We need to listen to what our community has to say; listen to what our elders have to say; and listen to what our kids have to say."
Ms Moore is one of 10 candidates in Victoria's north-west region and she is the only one from the Wimmera.
The north-west region also covers regional cities such as Mildura and Bendigo.
"I wrestled for quite a while with the idea, but after encouragement from others, I decided I needed to do this," Ms Moore said.
She said she also wanted to be part of the treaty process for her children.
"For our future generation, we are mentors - we share stories with them of the past and they look up to us for guidance," she said.
"This process will provide inspiration for young people moving forward."
People can meet the north-west candidate at upcoming networking events.
The Wimmera's event is at Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-Operative in Horsham on September 14 from 2pm to 4pm.
There will also be events in Bendigo, Swan Hill and Mildura.
People can enrol to vote for the assembly at firstpeoplevic.org/enrol.
Voting opens on September closes on October 20.