Sean ‘Waikarra’ Fagan, Reserved Seat holder representing Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
Sean Fagan’s people, the Wadawurrung, have had to fight for their Country for almost as long as Europeans have set foot on the land that is now known as Victoria, but through the Treaty process, he’s confident a fairer approach will be taken.
That was emphasised in his emotional speech to the Assembly’s inaugural Chamber in December 2019.
“I guess I want to say I am sick and tired of fighting and crying and sick and tired of seeing my family cry and all the struggle,” he said. “It is time we can move forward, and it is time for change.”
He says that so far, the Assembly’s first term has shown that progress is being made on a process that will give Aboriginal people fairer outcomes.
“There’s still a lot to be done, we’ve only just started really, but we’re laying the foundations for a new way of doing things so hopefully there won’t be the heartache of the past for our people,” he explains.
In the next 12 months, he wants to see the Assembly achieve real outcomes for his Ancestors and Elders; to appreciate and pay homage to them for their hard work and determination to be recognised for the tenacious connection they hold and of which he continues to hold to and for Wadawurrung Country and Peoples.
“It’s a heavy workload, but we owe it to our ancestors and Elders, who have struggled for so long, and for our children and their children, to make this opportunity work,” he says.
“We need to use this process to emphasise our survival, our ownership of this land before the invasion, and of our continued presence and connection to the land.”
Mr Fagan says although much of the Aboriginal community are jaded by the failures of past processes, the energy mustn’t be lost.
“We need the people to come with us,” he says. “We need the people to be part of this process. To tell us what they need.
“We need the general public to support us. With their backing the best outcomes will be achieved for all.”