As the countdown to referendum day begins, one local Voice supporter is urging the community to embrace the chance to make a change.
Robert Riley, founder of Pathways Together Aboriginal Corporation, said despite some scepticism he was a firm supporter of the Voice to Parliament and had faith it could make a difference for local First Nations people.
"I'm a reluctant 'Yes', only in the fact that I don't fully trust the government to get the panel right," he told the Daily Liberal.
"But it's about time that we were recognised in the constitution, the referendum is the start of that process.
"I have to have faith, because if the no campaign gets up we may never come back to this conversation again."
Six weeks from now, Australians will head to the polls to vote on whether the constitution should be changed to "recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice".
The Australian government describes the Voice as a body made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who will give advice to parliament on issues that affect their communities.
"I hope in my heart that we will get the panel right and we will see some improvements," Mr Riley said.
"We see now how the status quo hasn't worked and Aboriginal people haven't had a voice and the people who are impacted the most haven't had a voice.
"If we look at policy, we as Aboriginal people haven't written any of the policy. It's all gone through parliament, politicians and bureaucrats so you can't blame us that things aren't working."
A 'long-term' vision needed to create change
Unlike the current system where advisory panels can be created and dropped at the whims of whichever government is in charge at the time, the Voice would be enshrined in the constitution, Mr Riley said.
"It'll take a long time to improve our outcomes so we need a long-term vision," he said.
"At the moment what happens so many times is that things only last the duration of who's in power or things are only funded for two to three years."
Mr Riley said some of the ways he could see the Voice making a difference for local Indigenous communities include improving engagement in education and reducing the number of children in out-of-home care.
"I've seen a lot of stuff that mainstream Australia wouldn't see so I have a pretty well rounded view of some of the negative impacts and the positive things which are being done," he said.
"A lot of people don't know the true history... A lot of times people listen to Aboriginal people and they don't believe everything that we say because historically a different story has been told."
Mr Riley urged the Dubbo community not to be fearful of change as they head to the polls on October 14.
"It's sad to see there are some Aboriginal people on the no side trying to inflict fear on the Aboriginal community where they know that fear has been used as a weapon against us for 200 years," he said.
"Not only in Dubbo, but right across the board, some of the people in the 'No' campaign are saying things like 'Aboriginals get all this stuff for free' and that it'll 'only be worse' if we get a Voice.
"But we've had a Voice to parliament before, it's not as though it's anything new."
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