26 January holds diverse and complex meanings for Australians. It is Australia’s national public holiday and a date upon which awards and citizenships have been conferred. However, it is not a day of celebration for all, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Examining how 26 January is marked in Greater Shepparton commenced in 2022. Council formed a community stakeholder group, comprising Australia Day committee members, and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community groups. A summary of the themes which emerged from these conversations was presented to Council.

In October 2022 Council resolved to advocate to the Australian Government for a change of date for Australia’s national holiday, and to continue community engagement to inform a Council decision about Council’s role on 26 January in 2024 and beyond.

Council also resolved to conduct community engagement on the idea of having a day of community celebration that is not held on 26 January, is inclusive, reflects the full history of Australia, and is culturally respectful.

Council is committed to engaging with the wider community on the way forward. We would like to hear your feedback and comments.

The feedback received will be reviewed alongside what we heard in 2022, and a proposal will be developed for the future of Council’s role on 26 January in Greater Shepparton.