In a heart wrenching and powerful announcement, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, and the cohort of Indigenous women revealed that $9.1 million would be delivered to build and operate an Aboriginal family violence refuge.
The group of women spent years working towards getting the funds for a locally based refuge.
Joanne Clark from Grampian's Dhelk Dja was a crucial figure in this journey.
She spoke at the announcement about what the funding means for the Aboriginal community.
"We have lobbied for over two years," she said.
"It's been a journey, and at one stage, we thought we weren't going to get there.
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"We were sending our women away three hours to Mildura or Melbourne to seek supports. Now there is a healing process they can do on country and not uproot their family and children to restart a new life. Power of us women. We have a voice."
Ms Williams said this was a significant win for the community.
"It's a win in particular for the local Aboriginal women who have lobbied for this for a very long time," she said.
"This comes on the back of an announcement a couple of years ago around funding for an Aboriginal family violence refuge in Warrnambool.
"The government heard it loud and clear from the refuge partnership across south-west Wimmera that a refuge was also needed here in Horsham to take into account the geographic spread of this region but also the location of Aboriginal communities across this region and the importance of being connected to country to recovering on country."
Another woman who lobbied for this cause, Aunty Jennifer Beer, said the refuge will changes lives.
"When women are moved around they become isolated," she said.
"If they are taken away, the healing process is difficult. They are taken away from their families and kin they have within society."
Ms Clark said this becomes further trauma, many women already facing being in the foster system or a part of the stolen generation.
"There are already a number of layers that Aboriginal women face every day, this would be another layer and we see this come through," she said.
"What we had previously was sending them away, so we're creating more layers that we don't need to create.
"It can be a safe, healing process on country with community and services."
NEWS IN THE WIMMERA:
Ms Clark said numbers have increased in family violence and women seeking support in this area.
"Women can heal on country, to link into services properly and services to get to know their community as well," she said.
"A positive thing we have done throughout the journey is share those women's stories about healing back on country, talking about being removed, about being stolen generation and the layers that impacts on your personal wellbeing and your children's wellbeing."
Ms Clark the announcement was also for the women who didn't have a voice or a safe place.
The refuge will not just help the Aboriginal community in the Wimmera but across the state.
"We can offer this support to our extended family when they come to us for support," Ms Clark said.
Goolum Goolum chief executive Tony Craig said the "core and cluster" accommodation will offer six residential units.
"There is no ceiling on the time a family can stay in a unit," he said.
"They need to be able to feel safe and ready to get back into the community, family life or returning to work."
Mr Craig said the next stage will be finding a location for the core and cluster accommodation.
"Once we find that, it should be all systems go," he said.
Mr Craig said he hoped to see everything up and running in 12 to 18 months.
"We don't get many announcements like this in the Wimmera," he said.
"For our whole community, this is a massive win."
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