Glenelg Shire Council clarifies Australia Day approach

Glenelg Shire does not want to change Australia Day, but committed to including Indigenous communities.

Glenelg Shire does not want to change Australia Day, but committed to including Indigenous communities.

Glenelg Shire Council has expressed a commitment to working with the local Indigenous community to include it in Australia Day proceedings.

The council released a statement saying it would continue to recognise Australia Day on January 26 as an “integral part of our European history”, but also acknowledged the hurt celebrating the day can cause to the shire’s Indigenous community.

“Honouring this day has never been questioned by Glenelg Shire Council and we support the continued recognition of this important date and day in our history,” the statement said.

“At Glenelg Shire Council we are committed to working with our local (Indigenous) communities to accommodate and include them in our national day.

“Indigenous communities are part of our community and their voice and opinions should be considered when we celebrate Australia Day.”

In the 2016 census data, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.4 per cent of the population in the Glenelg Shire Council local government area, which was higher than the statewide average of 0.8 per cent.

Last month south-west Indigenous elder Lenny Clarke said the date of Australia Day should be changed after two Melbourne councils, Yarra and Darebin, voted to stop recognising the day on January 26.

He said a “grown up nation” should celebrate on a date that included everyone.

Moyne, Corangamite and Warrnambool mayors said in August that the notion of changing the date had not been raised.

Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas said he would be surprised if his council followed the actions taken by the Melbourne councils.

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