Melton council’s Australia Day celebrations will continue at The Willows Historical Park in Melton next year, despite a decision by councillors earlier this year to move the event to another part of the municipality.
In March, councillors voted for the 2018 Australia Day festivities to be held at Morton Homestead in Taylors Hill.
Mayor Sophie Ramsey successfully challenged the venue change at last week’s meeting following a report by council officers on whether the Taylors Hill community centre, across the road from the Homestead, would have sufficient space.
“I have grave concerns about parking for those with disabilities and the elderly at Taylors Hill,” Cr Ramsey said.
“At The Willows … there isn’t a major road that guests need to cross at any point during the celebrations.
“In the eastern corridor, where Morton Homestead is situated, it’s quite a distance from the community centre and I don’t think it’s appropriate. Unless we downsize it [festivities] considerably, I don’t think it would be a fitting site.”
Cr Ramsey said accessibility to the Taylors Hill venue would be an issue for residents in wheelchairs she did not want to be excluded.
Cambridge ward councillor Kathy Majdlik, who supported the original motion to host Australia Day celebrations in her ward, said that social support programs for the elderly and disabled, including the Taylors Hill men’s shed, were already run out of the community centre.
“As I recall [from the report received last month], there were no issues regarding car parking with this site,” she said.
“No concerns had been raised.”
Councillors voted unanimously in support of a motion for Australia Day celebrations to stay in Melton until 2019 and to be held at Taylors Hill in 2020.