Date makes a dif­fer­ence

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Leah Roberts

ONE Day in Fre­man­tle is back for its third year, with Fre­man­tle Mayor Brad Pet­titt say­ing con­ver­sa­tions sur­round­ing the date of Aus­tralia Day were hap­pen­ing across the coun­try.

Dr Pet­titt said the event was in­clu­sive and had been ac­cepted and con­ver­sa­tions about the date needed to start lo­cally rather than at a Fed­eral level.

“We do have lots of Abo­rig­i­nal fam­i­lies com­ing down, peo­ple from all over the world,” he said.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate that it’s still con­tro­ver­sial for some but the fact is the con­ver­sa­tion is hap­pen­ing around the coun­try.

“It’s not about telling peo­ple what to do, it’s about giv­ing peo­ple some op­tions and we hope that they come down and en­joy Freo as well.”

Since the change, Dr Pet­titt said lo­cal gov­ern­ments in­ter­state had ap­proached Fre­man­tle to dis­cuss their event, which was first held in 2017 to pro­vide a cul­tur­ally-in­clu­sive al­ter­na­tive to Aus­tralia Day.

“It doesn’t mean it’s easy for any­one to go down this path; as we saw there was a fair num­ber of peo­ple beat­ing up on Freo in the process,” he said.

“What I’ve said to other lo­cal gov­ern­ments who have spo­ken to us about it is to do con­sul­ta­tion with your com­mu­nity, with your Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity es­pe­cially.

“It has to be one of those things where you go on that jour­ney to­gether and com­mit to an out­come that is ac­tu­ally more in­clu­sive.”

Dr Pet­titt said the City would keep do­ing what it was do­ing and make the day a key part of Fre­man­tle’s fes­ti­val cal­en­dar.

“I do hope that the mes­sage on how we can be part of the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion con­ver­sa­tion will con­tinue to grow and ma­ture across the coun­try,” he said.

Syd­ney-based singer­song writer Mon­taigne will head­line the event on Jan­uary 27.

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