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Councils in the Echo News readership would not be drawn in the debate regarding the change the date campaign.

Councils play straight bat to date

LOCAL governments in the Echo News readership have distanced themselves from the Australia Day debate, with the January 26 date remaining a bone of contention among the community.

The change the date campaign, spearheaded by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, maintains the January 26 date is offensive to Indigenous Australians and crafts a “cult of forgetfulness” to the realities of that date.

In 2017, the City of Fremantle was equally applauded and condemned for forgoing Australia Day celebrations in favour of a day of multicultural celebration on January 28.

With the change the date push gaining steam, Echo News asked the Cities of Swan and Kalamunda and the Shire of Mundaring where they stood in the debate.

All three local government organisations played an exceptionally straight bat to the query.

Kalamunda Mayor John Giardina said “Councillors are elected to represent the interests of the community locally, not those of a political party, and I encourage community members to give us their views on the issue.”

City of Swan Deputy Mayor Kevin Bailey said he was happy to celebrate Australia Day on the date set by Federal parliament, whatever that date may be.

“Australia Day is important to celebrate because it is the one day of the year that all Australians can come together, irrespective of beliefs and ideologies, as one country and one people, and celebrate,” he said.

Mundaring Shire president John Daw said there were no plans to change the date of Australia Day in the hills.

“Mundaring Council is first and foremost concerned with the community’s interests and issues at the local level,” he said.

“The date of Australia Day has not been raised for formal discussion by the current Council and at present there are no plans to change the date of the Shire’s Australia Day celebration.”

With Claire Ottaviano

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story in 2013 and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014, and he's a finalist in three categories of the 2018 WA Media Awards. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

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