Bayswater Council rejects 2018 Australia Day light show proposal

Stock image.
Stock image.

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

Councillor Brent Fleeton requested the City investigate hosting festivities and a light show at the Swan River on Australia Day next year.

The proposal comes after the City of Fremantle moved 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, pop-up bar and said the City’s best asset was its Swan River frontage.

He said he pulled his initial idea for fireworks after feedback from Council.

“Without the First Fleet, there would be no City of Bayswater, we should stop trying to hide from the day we were settled,” he said.

He 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,” he said.

“I’m happy to keep the date as it is… I’m happy to keep the status quo.”

However, Councillor Chris Cornish said making an event larger than the “little barbecue” the City currently host 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.

Councillor Dan Bull said celebrating on January 26 difficult for many indigenous Australians.

He said it marked the beginning of hundreds of years of “suffering, loss, massacres and removal of tens of thousands of children.”

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

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

Council rejected the lights show proposal.