The leader of a western NSW Indigenous organisation has broken his silence, calling the result of the Voice referendum "gut wrenching" for Indigenous people in the region.
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Richard Weston, chief executive of the Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, said the overwhelming 'No' vote for the Voice to Parliament was not what he had been hoping for and was a rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
"These last few months have been difficult and the most worrying thing about the success of the 'No' case was the level of disinformation, the bigoted commentary and demonisation of many good Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Yes side of the referendum that revealed itself," he said.
"But I have also been buoyed by the many quarters of support that we received during this campaign.
"Millions of Australians across the nation supported the change to the Constitution and I feel confident that the good will by ordinary non-Aboriginal people locally and across the nation will remain."
The Broken Hill-based Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation works across many communities in the Parkes electorate including Menindee, Wilcannia and Tibooburra.
The division of Parkes saw one of the highest 'No' votes in the country, with only 21.3 per cent of voters in the area in favour of the Voice compared to 40.34 NSW wide and 39.21 per cent nationwide.
However, support for the Voice was higher in Wilcannia and Menindee compared to the division as a whole.
According to the Australian Electoral Commission's polling place, 39.24 per cent of voters in Wilcannia and 35.62 per cent of voters in Menindee voted 'Yes' on the referendum.
Despite the disappointing result, Mr Weston said Indigenous communities in the NSW far west would be able to remain strong.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people belong to the oldest living cultures in the world," he said.
"65,000 years of history and culture that has come before us, and which will continue long after we are gone, has made us resilient - history has proved that, and we will continue to be resilient."
Mr Weston said the failed referendum does not change the work that needs to be done to improve outcomes for Indigenous people, especially those in remote communities. He said he will continue to advocate for Indigenous people and ensure their voices are heard by all levels of government.
"The result of the referendum does not alter the work that still needs to be done to close the gap, and Australian governments across the nation, including the Local Government Association, are all parties to that agreement," he said.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will keep speaking up to governments and service providers about what works and what doesn't work for us because we know that input from First Nations people produces better results"
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