Bayswater councillor calls for Australia Day fireworks

Bayswater councillor calls for Australia Day fireworks

A BAYSWATER councillor has called for Bayswater to host Australia Day fireworks just a week after City of Fremantle canned its Australia Day event to be more culturally sensitive.

At a meeting in January, Cr Brent Fleeton will request City of Bayswater investigate the potential to host Australia Day fireworks and festivities on January 26, 2018.

City of Fremantle has 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 wrote on his public Facebook page that he was “sick of being made to feel guilty for wanting to celebrate Australia on the anniversary of the first British settlement”.

“Not everyone likes this day for various reasons, I understand that but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should be shamed into wearing black arm bands and apologise for being here,” he wrote.

Speaking to the Eastern Reporter, Cr Fleeton said Fremantle’s decision “dumb-founded” him and there were better ways to foster reconciliation.

He said Riverside Gardens was underutilised and would be an ideal location on the Swan River.

“I want locals in Bayswater to be able to celebrate Australia Day at their own local park, fireworks and having a drink,” he said.

“Somewhere families can go for Australia Day, rather than going all the way into the city.

“The City has done some investigation into the cost of fireworks and it’s not that prohibitive at all.”

Cr Fleeton said while nearby Bassendean host annual Australia Day festivities, there was a market for a Bayswater event.

Wadjak Northside Aboriginal Community Group co-chairman Shane Garlett said he supported the idea of an event in Bayswater held on Australia Day itself.

“If you hold events in each community, you know it’s going to be safe,” he said.

“Families can go to own communities and don’t have to put up with issues in the city (Perth).”

Mr Garlett said the community group would consider having their own Australia Day event with Noongar bands.