The City of Mount Gambier in South Australia is discussing potential changes to its Australia Day programming. The city council recently voted to move its annual citizenship ceremony to January 24, but decided to keep the council’s Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony on January 26. The council will also review whether it is more appropriate to change the award ceremony in 2025.
The recommended motion to move the award ceremony to May, during National Volunteer Week, was met with an alternative motion proposed by deputy mayor Max Bruins. He argued for keeping the awards on January 26, stating that residents were eager to see an Australia Day event continue. The approved changes are considered a transitional arrangement, allowing the council to engage the public and assess future plans for January 26.
Mount Gambier’s Australia Day events were reinstated this year after being canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, attendance and participation levels were lower compared to pre-pandemic times. The council’s report also highlighted that there is a “broad range of views in the community” regarding Australia Day celebrations. Mayor Lynette Martin emphasized the importance of inclusivity and expressed the need for an event that celebrates the multicultural community.
Councillor Frank Morello supported the decision to initiate a conversation about holding events on January 26, acknowledging that attendances have declined in recent years and that underrepresented groups need better representation. He called for a community-led dialogue on the future of the event.
The proposed changes in Mount Gambier’s Australia Day programming are part of a regular review of council events, according to council chief executive Sarah Philpott. The council seeks to be conscious of the conversations surrounding Australia Day and the inclusion of First Nations voices and representation, as advised by their Aboriginal reference group.
1. Why did Mount Gambier move its citizenship ceremony?
Mount Gambier’s City Council voted to move its annual citizenship ceremony to January 24. This change was made to consider alternative arrangements for Australia Day programming.
2. Will the Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony be moved as well?
While the citizenship ceremony was shifted, the council decided to retain the Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony on January 26. However, a review will be conducted in 2025 to assess the suitability of moving the awards in the future.
3. Why were there lower attendance levels at Mount Gambier’s Australia Day events?
Mount Gambier’s Australia Day events were canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When they were reinstated, attendance and participation were lower than pre-pandemic levels.
– [City of Mount Gambier](https://www.mountgambier.sa.gov.au/home)
– [ABC South East SA](https://www.abc.net.au/news/sa/regions/)