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Sydney’s Inner West set to scrap Australia Day celebrations

Sydney’s Inner West Council is considering scrapping Australia Day celebrations on January 26.

The proposal, which will be voted on next week, would aim to keep Citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Council sought feedback with 37 people responding to an online survey, including 19 per cent of whom identified as Aboriginal, most opposing an Australia Day event.

Inner West Liberal councillor Julie Passas tells Steve Price she opposes the move.

“It’s not an issue, people are not concerned.

“We love Australia, this is the best country in the world. Why are you trying to stop and make people feel uncomfortable about having the BBQ, getting together with your family, and celebrating that day?”

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Rita Panahi tells Steve Price the decision is ridiculous but unsurprising.

“It’s not only predictable, but it’s just maddening.

“They’re not interested in rates and roads and rubbish, that’s all small time for them. They want to grandstand on big national sexy issues like Australia Day and climate change and refugees.”

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But Mayor of Inner West Council Darcy Byrne tells Ben Fordham he’s simply doing what’s in line with community standards.

“You’d have to have been living under a rock the last couple of years not to have noticed that attitudes towards Australia Day and questions about the meaning of it have been growing in the community.

“We certainly will be holding the citizenship ceremony… it’s the best part of my job.

“But we do think that there’s a way for us to conduct the rest of the events around that date in a way that’s more sensitive to the concerns of the Aboriginal community.”

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Image: Getty/NurPhoto