Councillor calls for Wanneroo Festival to include ‘Australia Day’

Fireworks in Wanneroo. Picture: Jarvis Eyes
Fireworks in Wanneroo. Picture: Jarvis Eyes

A WANNEROO councillor is calling for the City to add ‘Australia Day’ to the name of the Wanneroo Festival, with the inaugural event planned for January 26 next year.

In July, the council agreed to drop the annual free Wanneroo Presents Concert from its calendar and hold a multicultural festival on Australia Day 2020 instead.

It was proposed to make the most of a large marquee hired for the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony at Wanneroo Showground, which has been one of the biggest in the country in recent years.

The City’s website promotes the free festival, which will be held on Australia Day in 2020.

Marketing material has since gone out, including a call for performers and groups to lodge expressions of interest to be part of the first festival, but it did not mention Australia Day.

According to the November 12 council meeting agenda, administration did so “out of respect for the views expressed by the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group members” that it needed to avoid references to ‘Australia Day’.

It said Multicultural Advisory Group members supported not including ‘Australia Day’ reference as “they too wish to have an inclusive event that respects the sensitivities and opinions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community”.

Councillor Linda Aitken plans to put forward a motion on notice at the council meeting to recognise Australia Day within promotional material and proceedings on the day.

Cr Aitken said the decision about whether to include Australia Day in the promotional material and event proceedings should be a
council decision.

A Wanneroo Festival poster featuring flags from several countries, including Australia.

Administration said the promotional material featured an Australian flag, which recognised the country and it did not recommend changing the material or proceedings to include ‘Australia Day’.

“The Wanneroo Festival has been seen by the community as an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the City, and in particular, a chance to educate new citizens to the importance, value and richness of Aboriginal culture in the City,” it said.

“If an association with Australia Day is created through the promotion and proceedings of Wanneroo Festival, it is possible that the event will lose the support of the Aboriginal community, and consequently any participation of this culture within the event.”

Entertainment for the January 26 event will include local performers Jordan Anthony and the Subih Brothers, as well as fireworks.

Visit www.wannerooevents.com.au/wanneroofestival for more information.

Australia Day air show out of hiatus

The City of Wanneroo’s 2019 Australia Day ceremony under the marquee that the council wants to use for the Wanneroo Festival.