Fremantle’s Change the Date decision an inspiration for other councils

Fremantle's Change the Date decision an inspiration for other councils

25 November 2016

The largest member-based Aboriginal organisation in Australia, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), today praised the courage of City of Fremantle Council for shifting Australia Day celebrations away from 26 January.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See also encouraged local councils in New South Wales to act in the true spirit of reconciliation and work with Aboriginal communities to celebrate Aboriginal culture and contributions.

"Any celebration of what it means to be Australian must include Australia's First Peoples.

"Australians need to recognise that January 26 reminds Aboriginal people of the arrival of the First Fleet and the dispossession of our land.

"For Aboriginal people, celebrating January 26 generates strong emotions and we need to change the date to respectfully celebrate Aboriginal culture and contributions.

"Australia's First Peoples have maintained the oldest-living culture in the world. We have a shared history and the achievements of Aboriginal Australians are for all Australians to embrace and celebrate.

"Changing the date will allow more Australians to feel proud about our national identity in a respectful and inclusive environment."

Cr Ah-See said he hoped the political leadership and courage of City of Fremantle would not be bogged down by another round of toxic public debate over the council's decision.

"Changing the date of our national celebrations has nothing to do with political correctness or culture wars - it's about using common sense and showing courtesy and respect for all Australians."

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Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291