23 Aus­tralia Day to stay


MOST of Vic­to­ria’s may­ors don’t be­lieve the date of Aus­tralia Day should change, nor should Euro­pean set­tler mon­u­ments be al­tered, ac­cord­ing to a Sun­day Her­ald Sun survey.

May­ors also broadly sup­ported same-sex mar­riage, but sur­pris­ingly a few said the state gov­ern­ment’s rate cap should stay be­cause it forced eco­nomic dis­ci­pline on coun­cils.

All may­ors were asked their views on Aus­tralia Day, mon­u­ments, may­oral cars, same-sex mar­riage and the rate cap.

None of the re­spon­dents was pre­pared to fol­low three Mel­bourne in­ner-city coun­cils — Yarra, Dare­bin and More­land — to no longer mark Aus­tralia Day on Jan­uary 26.

Many may­ors said it was a mat­ter that coun­cils had no ju­ris­dic­tion over and many had af­firmed sup­port for Jan­uary 26 as the na­tional day.

Kingston mayor David Eden said it was a mat­ter to be de­ter­mined at a na­tional level.

“It’s not an is­sue that my lo­cal com­mu­nity has come for­ward with a strong view on one par­tic­u­lar way or an­other,’’ Mr Eden said.

Mel­bourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was an­other op­posed to chang­ing the date.

“Any­one who comes to the City of Mel­bourne’s Aus­tralia Day pa­rade will see the glue that holds us to­gether, cul­tur­ally and so­cially,’’ he said.

Like­wise, most felt it best to leave mon­u­ments that mark set­tler her­itage, al­though some were open to amend­ing the words. Hind­marsh Shire mayor De­bra Nel­son was in favour of keep­ing mon­u­ments.

“But where they con­tain in­for­ma­tion that has been proven not to be fac­tual, this should be cor­rected with per­haps ad­di­tional text rather than a whole new mon­u­ment,” Ms Nel­son said.

Most coun­cils have railed against the rate cap of 2 per cent a year since it was in­tro­duced in 2015.

Ararat mayor Paul Hooper said the cap should be lifted for coun­cils in growth, re­gional and small ru­ral ar­eas. But South Gipp­s­land mayor Ray Ar­gento said it should stay.

“Rate cap­ping makes coun­cils more ef­fi­cient and en­ables us to live within our means,’’ he said.

Many may­ors still have use of a car, es­pe­cially in larger ru­ral shires, and of those who don’t, most claim ex­penses for us­ing their own ve­hi­cle.

East Gipp­s­land mayor Joe Ret­tino has a coun­cil Camry to cover his large mu­nic­i­pal­ity of 21,000 sqm, which is 10 per cent of Vic­to­ria.

“All coun­cil­lors cover vast dis­tances to en­gage with their con­stituents, from the High Coun­try to Mal­la­coota,’’ Mr Ret­tino said.

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