Merri-bek City Council welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to allow councils to hold citizenship ceremonies within 3 days of January 26.
The decision follows a resolution by Council to discontinue citizenship ceremonies on 26 January.
Mayor of Merri-bek, Councillor Angelica Panopoulos said the Federal Government’s decision would mean Merri-bek can continue to celebrate with new citizens.
“We are grateful that the Federal Government will allow us, and all councils, to listen to our communities and make decisions that are right for us when scheduling citizenship ceremonies in January,” Cr Panopoulos said.
“We look forward to holding many ceremonies in 2023 where we will celebrate Australian citizenship and what it means to be Australian – including our next ceremony, which is proposed for 24 January.
“We will always listen to Traditional Owners and our First Nations community about matters that are important to them. January 26 is a painful day for many in our community, and isn’t the right date to celebrate.”
Council’s resolution was based on a recommendation by its First Nations Advisory Committee.
This follows a decision in 2017 to stop celebrating Australia Day on January 26 and advocate for a change of the date it is celebrated.
Cr Panopoulos said Council’s work in this space is guided by a Statement of Commitment to Traditional Owners.
“We are guided by our Statement of Commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities of the City of Merri-bek. Through our commitment, we listen to our First Nations community and work with them towards reconciliation through action in Merri-bek.”