Opinion: Australia Day headline incorrect

Stock image.
Stock image.

I AM writing to express my disappointment in the incorrect headline on the Cockburn Gazette front page (“Council holds off on celebrations”, September 19) regarding the City of Cockburn’s 2018 Australia Day commemorations.

The headline completely contradicted the article, which confirmed that both the City’s Australia Day events are going ahead in 2018.

In response to questions from the Gazette on September 15, the City reiterated that point.

It has not only mislead your readers but resulted in concern across the community that some elected members are advocating for a change of date to Australia Day. This is simply not the case.

The misrepresentation is further exacerbated as some important points were missed.

In September 2016, the council unanimously voted to consult with the Aboriginal Reference Group to determine the desirability of council allocating a budget for Aboriginal cultural considerations and healing activities relating to Australia Day.

In March 2017, the council resolved to allocate an additional $10,000 for further consultation with the Aboriginal Reference Group and Aboriginal community regarding the nature and type of cultural activities for future Australia Day events, and $2000 for additional Nyungar cultural activities at the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony in 2018.

In June 2017, the council confirmed the minutes of the Cockburn community events committee, which allocated $83,000 for the Australia Day breakfast event at Coogee Beach.

As the council has not yet received the final report on these Australia Day cultural considerations, it would have been wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to agree to any motions around Australia Day.

This is why the motion requesting the council reaffirm its commitment to hold its Australia Day events on Australia Day was not supported by the majority of councillors.

This was not about councillors supporting a move of date for Australia Day, it was about respectfully waiting for, and not pre-empting, a report already commissioned and supported by the council.

Any information in the community which advises that I or any other elected member voted against keeping Australia Day on January 26 is misleading at best.

I will confirm once again that the City plans to hold both the annual Australia Day family breakfast event at Coogee Beach and the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony on January 26 next year.

MORE: Trial for murder of Mandurah teenager Hayley Dodd to begin this week

MORE: Cyclist dies after crash with car in Burns Beach

MORE: Sinkhole swallows car after burst water main closes roads