The Victoria Local Governance Authority has urged the federal government to work with local councils on the issue of citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, rather than using them for political purposes.
The call comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to force local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.
While Brimbank will still hold its citizenship ceremony on Australia Day, several councils last year moved their ceremonies to different dates out of respect for indigenous community members.
VLGA chief executive Kathryn Arndt called on the federal parliament to work with local councils on the issue.
“The VLGA urges the Australian government to engage with local councils prior to mandating all councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26,” Ms Arndt said.
“Not to do so undermines the relevant state-based acts, the principles of effective local governance and is potentially disrespectful to the traditional owners of the land and new Australians due to the sensitivities surrounding the significance of this date.
“Rather than reconcile tension between the levels of government it heightens animosity and both the federal government, and the local government sector, should avoid using this date for political purposes.”
Brimbank’s citizenship ceremony and Australia Day awards will run from 10am on January 26 in the Kevin Wheelahan Gardens, Sunshine.