Brimbank City Council hasn’t ruled out moving its Australia Day celebrations away from January 26.
At last week’s Brimbank Australia Day Awards ceremony, chief executive Helen Morrissey said the council was committed to a respectful debate over the controversial issue.
“We [Brimbank council] recognise this particular date is a sensitive subject … and we are committed to having a respectful debate around that subject,” she said.
Last year the Moreland, Darebin and Yarra councils opted to dump January 26 as their day of celebration, arguing that the date was offensive and inappropriate to indigenous Australians.
The move prompted the federal government to strip the Darebin and Yarra councils of the right to hold citizenship ceremonies.
However the debate was ignited again this month when the Greens announced they were planning to use their numbers in local governments to push for a shift of date.
And last week, the State Opposition vowed to sack councils who do not celebrate Australia Day if elected in November.
During a council meeting last September, then Brimbank mayor John Hedditch said the council would discuss the date during the review of its Reconciliation Action Plan.
“We’ll be reviewing our Indigenous Action Plan from September through to November this year and we feel this will be a timely period to discuss the matter,” Cr Hedditch said.
“This review will be held under the guidance of an experienced indigenous consultant … the findings will be presented back to council to discuss.”
In November, the council hosted two community consultation sessions to help inform the development of the next four-year draft Reconciliation Action Plan.
Mayor Margaret Giudice said consultation with indigenous leaders is ongoing.
“We’re undertaking consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community representatives and a range of local aboriginal organisations,” Cr Giudice said.
“Australia Day is amongst a range of topics discussed as part of this process.”