Aboriginal Engagement Strategy Group member describes Town of Victoria Park’s Australia Day decision as a missed opportunity

Dylan Collard.
Dylan Collard.

DYLAN Collard hopes discussions with the Town of Victoria Park about Australia Day will lead to the council being trailblazers.

The Town of Victoria Park Aboriginal Engagement Strategy Group member, East Victoria Park resident and Wajuk and Ballardong Nyungar man said the Town missed an opportunity when it reaffirmed its commitment to holding Australia Day citizenship ceremonies but stopped short of committing to January 26 as the date to do so.

“I felt as though the Town had the opportunity to continue in its trailblazing way just as it did with the Refugee Welcome Zone and the pride flag,” he said.

“It’s a missed opportunity and I’m a bit disappointed that the Town has stayed with the status quo.”

A motion for the Town to continue to celebrate Australia Day each and every year “on the date designated by the Federal Government” and to continue hosting a citizenship ceremony and citizen of the year awards on that day was passed at the council’s meeting on October 10.

The second part of the motion included the Town committing to discuss the meaning of January 26 with its Aboriginal Engagement Strategy Group.

“I’m hoping that we can have a discussion with the Town and as a group we can form an opinion and let them know how we feel,” Mr Collard said.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before the date is changed but I think the Town can lead the way, just as it did with the pride flag.”

The original motion on the agenda brought forward by councillor Vince Maxwell was to commit to January 26 but he changed it when he introduced the item.

Cr Maxwell said the motion was not about declaring what day Australia Day should be but recognising the greatness of achievements made by the nation.

Cr Vicki Potter voiced her concern that the council was delving into an issue that they should not have to deal with.

Earlier in the meeting, Mr Collard voiced his concern during public question time and said the Aboriginal people had been protesting the day for decades.

The council’s decision follows a resolution from the City of South Perth last month to celebrate Australia on January 26 each and every year.

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