Shoalhaven mayor’s bid to postpone Australia Day Awards quashed

A majority of Shoalhaven Councillors voted against postponing Australia Day Awards in 2018, but not before airing their grievances with mayor Amanda Findley for making the suggestion.

The move was quashed eight votes to four at a meeting on Tuesday night.

“Given what's going on in Victoria, where a couple of rogue councils are pulling up stumps on Australia Day, this council should not be doing the same thing,” Councillor Andrew Guile said.

“You are suggesting we don’t recognise Australia Day, and the awards that go with it. Our community will take offence to your suggestion, that you want to can Australia Day.

“I'll be voting against your mayoral minute.”

Dozens of residents attending the council meeting applauded Cr Guile at the end of his speech.

Councillor Patricia White said a resident had flagged the issue with her earlier in the day.

“I received an email that was absolutely scathing of this mayoral minute,” she said.

“Where is the political will to change something like this?”

Mayor Findley declared council struggled to collect nominations for this year’s award, and that was the reason for the move.

She rejected claims she was following the lead of Yarra and Darebin Councils, councils that recently dumped Australia Day citizenship ceremonies after consultation with Indigenous community members.

Councillors Bob Proudfoot and Mitchell Pakes suggested council takes a more proactive approach in finding award nominees.


Mayoral minute on Australia Day:

1. Postpone the Shoal Medal / Australia Day awards ceremony for 2018 and reassess all civic functions council hold across the year recognising community members achievement. 

2. Prioritise the Queen’s Baton Relay as its principal community event for 2018 while retaining the current funding for community driven Aust day celebrations throughout the city. 

For: Findley, Nina Cheyne, Kaye Gartner, John Levett.

Against: Mark Kitchener, Guile, Pakes, White, Annette Alldrick, Proudfoot, Jo Gash, John Wells.

Absent: Greg Watson.