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Cities around the country are already beginning to cancel Australia Day celebrations for 2021 because of the COVID pandemic.
Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, The Hills, North Sydney and Inner West are among those to have canned events for January 26th next year despite the government offering a $20,000 grant for councils to implement Covid-safe procedures for events.
Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou has labelled the move as 'un-Australian'.
"I think the decision taken by some councils to cancel their Australia Day events is completely unacceptable and frankly un-Australian, particularly if the events can be hosted in a COVID-safe manner," he said.
Great article in today's Sun Herald. I'm quoted that cancellation of Australia Day Celebrations is completely unacceptable and un Australian. Cumberland City Council will host its annual Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Celebrations as normal. pic.twitter.com/cocSky8WxL
- Mayor Steve Christou (@ChristouSteve) November 22, 2020
Ben Morton, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, also urged local governments and event organisers to hold their Australia Day events in a Covid-safe way, 'rather than rushing to cancel them'.
He added that the day was an opportunity to reflect on 'our shared history and 60,000 year plus journey as a nation, its highs and its lows'.
The cancellations have again rehashed calls to change the date of Australia Day so not to offend Indigenous Australians, with the suggestion still proving to be a highly divisive issue for Australians.
Despite some people raging against the move, others have welcomed the change, saying that if events are set to be cancelled anyway, then why not change the date entirely so all Australians are willing to celebrate?
Among some of the suggested dates to change Australia Day to include May 8 (Maate), May 9 - which is the first sitting of Federal Parliament, as well as the third Friday of January in order to guarantee a long weekend each year.
Some councils, such as the Inner West, have dumped January 26 celebrations completely, with last year seeing a summer-themed event held on a different date.
Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne said Australia Day was a day to be commemorated not celebrated, saying: "Attitudes towards 26 January are changing in the community.
"For Aboriginal people the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and the deliberate destruction of language and culture."
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