Bayswater Council rejects 2018 Australia Day light show proposal

THE City of Bayswater will not host an Australia Day lights show next year, after it was deemed by one councillor to be insensitive.

Cr Chris Cornish said making an event larger than the “little barbecue” the City currently hosted when there was national discussion surrounding date of Australia Day, would be “politically abrasive”.

“It would send a poor message to the public,” he said.

He said Bassendean had a great event and they should not compete with neighbours.

His comments came after Cr Brent Fleeton requested the City investigate hosting festivities and a light show at the Swan River on Australia Day next year.

The proposal followed the City of Fremantle moving its Australia Day celebrations to two days after the rest of the country in an attempt to create a more culturally sensitive celebration for Aboriginal people.

Cr Fleeton said he wanted to see a laser show and a pop-up bar because the City’s best asset was its Swan River frontage.

He said he withdrew his initial idea for fireworks after feedback from the council.

Cr Fleeton said that nearby Bassendean’s Australia Day fireworks were on Ashfield Reserve – a “fenced off soccer pitch” – and a Bayswater location at the Swan River would be a better venue.

Mayor Barry McKenna said he enjoyed Australia Day and had had no issues with the date.

“To me, Australia Day has nothing to do with Invasion Day … let’s move on. I’m happy to keep the date as it is,” he said.

But Cr Dan Bull said celebrating on January 26 was difficult for many indigenous Australians.

“Passing the motion will do more harm than good,” he said.

Cr Catherine Erhardt seconded the motion because she said it was “part of a broader discussion we need to have”.

Councillors rejected the lights show proposal.