Melbourne City Council's Plan To Ditch Australia Day Celebrations

Hoping to create "unity"

Article heading image for Melbourne City Council's Plan To Ditch Australia Day Celebrations

Melbourne City Council will review how Australia Day will be celebrated in the future, with Lord Mayor Sally Capp leading the call for change.

The Australia Day parade and fireworks display, and citizenship ceremonies could be affected if the council decides to ditch celebrations on January 26.

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At council’s meeting on Tuesday night, Capp said Australia Day had become “divisive” and council will converse with the community to determine any celebrations in the future.

“What are the ways we can celebrate being Australian and can we find ways to create more unity than division on 26 January,” Capp said on Sunrise this morning.

“The debate is maturing, and it is time for us to be more considered about what happens on January 26.

“What we can do is consider the views of our community, of traditional owners and the approaches of other levels of government.

“We can incorporate the views of stakeholders and we can look to use that information to consider what we will do on January 26.”

Capp then told Sky News while council could not change the date, they are hoping to create more “unity” following heated debate over the public holiday in recent years.

"It's up to the state government, they run the parade and fireworks, so again, that is outside our bailiwick,” she said.

"But there are things we do - the citizenship ceremonies, we attend and support the day of morning dawn service, we support the Share the Spirit Festival in the afternoon showcasing indigenous talent and many of these activities have organically become part of our programme throughout the day."

All councillors except Jason Chang voted for the motion, him believing the issue was a matter for the Federal Government.

“I understand the sentiment and respect my colleagues’ views on this, but I also feel we need to focus on what’s happening in the city of Melbourne right now."

- Jason Chang

“Businesses are all struggling … myself included.”

Councillors will now explore “alternative options for council consideration.”

An options paper will be presented to the council’s Future Melbourne Committee on September 6, with its suggestions to be considered from 2023 onwards.

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27 July 2022

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