Gunnedah Shire Council in favour of Australia Day celebrations on January 26

AUSTRALIA DAY DEBATE: Gunnedah council votes to keep its celebrations on January 26.
AUSTRALIA DAY DEBATE: Gunnedah council votes to keep its celebrations on January 26.

GUNNEDAH Shire Council won’t be dumping its Australia Day celebrations on January 26 next year.

A notice of motion was put forward at yesterday’s meeting by Colleen Fuller recommending “that Australia Day being the 26th January remain the same at Gunnedah Shire Council”.

The move was supported by council.

It comes one month after three councils in Victoria separately voted to dump Australia Day celebrations on January 26, sparking widespread debate.

These moves, south of the border, have sparked concern about the future of January 26 celebrations in the Gunnedah community, according to Cr Fuller, who sought to clear up the shire’s stance on the matter.

“Some people had asked me if council were going to do the same as other states and other councils,” Cr Fuller told the NVI.

“I couldn’t say yes or no, and a number of people were interested to find out whether we would or wouldn’t, so I put the motion to council.”

Cr Fuller said quite a few people had approached her about the issue and the sentiment was that council keeps its Australia Day celebrations on the current date.

“It’s been a united day for how many years? As long as I’ve been alive,” she said.

Some people had asked me if council were going to do the same as other states.

Councillor Colleen Fuller

Yarra City Council, located in inner Melbourne, was the first to “un-recognise” Australia Day in August and neighbouring metropolitan councils Darebin and Moreland followed suit shortly after, sparking debate about the date of Australia’s national day.

Mayor Amanda Stone said the council voted to no longer recognise the day because of the “depth of feeling” about its meaning to residents.

“We do not believe it is the right day for our national celebration and certainly not the right day to be welcoming our newest citizens to our nation in a citizenship ceremony,” she said.

“This day can only commemorate the British invasion of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander lands.”