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Council acknowledges January 26 as day of mourning and sadness for many

24 Jan 2022

Each year on January 26,  Council joins First Nations people in acknowledging this date as one of sadness and mourning.

In 2017 Council voted to no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day, and supports the call for a new annual day to celebrate our nation.

Mayor, Cr Mark Riley said this date is not only a painful reminder to First Nations people about the pain and trauma inflicted on their people, it’s a day that divides our community and does not celebrate everyone’s history in this country.

“At Merri-bek we are one community, proudly diverse, so it doesn’t make sense to celebrate Australia, while not including First Nations people in that joyous day,” Cr Riley said.

In 2021 Merri-bek Council joined Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents in signing an updated Statement of Commitment.

This commitment sets out Council’s vision for Reconciliation, and outlines how Council recognises, supports and commits to a process towards self-determination, and Treaty for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Supporting the call to change the date is one of a number of ways Council is working towards the vision outlined in the Statement of Commitment.

You can learn more about Council’s commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities on our Reconciliation page.