Council open to Aus Day talks

Mayor Bruce Green.

Mayor Bruce Green.

The Port Lincoln City Council would not consider changing the date of its Australia Day celebrations without consultation and discussion with the community, according to mayor Bruce Green.

The debate stemmed from an Australian Local Government Association conference in June, where councils around the nation suggested changing the name to “Community Awards Ceremonies” to avoid offending Aboriginal people.

Mr Green said the council had not considered altering its Australia Day celebrations as the issue had not been raised by elected members or the community. 

He said the council had money set aside in its 2017-2018 annual business plan to develop a reconciliation plan, which he thought might trigger discussions around Australia Day.

Mr Green said the council would engage and collaborate with the Aboriginal community to develop and implement the reconciliation plan.

“Over time the council has changed the way it has managed Australia Day,” he said.

“In the past the day had a military aspect, we would inspect the guard and I wasn’t as keen to continue with that.”

Mr Green said since becoming mayor he had tried to soften any notion of military involvement.

He said the council had tried to make its Australia Day ceremonies all encompassing by including Indigenous recognition and a Welcome to Country.

Mr Green said the development of the reconciliation plan would give the Aboriginal community an opportunity to share their views on the city’s Australia Day events. 

“I fully expect that when council begins work on its reconciliation plan, that that will spark some debate relating to the date and celebrations of Australia Day,” he said. 

“Through that process we will hear from the local Aboriginal community on what they think, need or would like to see happen on that day.”