City won’t host Australia Day event
THE City of Greater Geelong will not be hosting an overarching Australia Day celebration this year but says it is lending its support to events across the municipality.
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic is spreading more rapidly than others, and although outdoor events are safer than those held indoors, some organisers are scaling back or calling off their plans for January 26 as a result.
One example is the planned celebration to be held in Portarlington, which has had its program of activities reduced due to rising COVID-19 infections, especially on the Bellarine Peninsula.
“This action is being taken to protect all the volunteers who were going to participate on the day, be they from the PCIB or our partner organisations,” Portarlington Community Information Booth (PCIB) Inc. president Phil Cameron said in a statement on the city’s website.
“We also wish to contribute to the protection of our community and visitors to the North Bellarine.
“We hope for your understanding of this decision as we are as disappointed as you are.
“Our revised plan now only includes music from the Rotunda forecourt from noon until 2pm.
“We will now focus our attention to having a bigger program to celebrate Australia Day 2023 Portarlington and will be in touch closer to that date.
“We wish you a happy Australia Day with time to ‘Reflect, Respect and Celebrate – as we’re all part of the Story’.”
Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan said the city provided funding to a number of community Australia Day events, but many of these had been cancelled by the organisers due to COVID-19.
“We support the Festival of Sails via Geelong Major Events and the Australia Day event in Portarlington is supported through our Community Grants program.
“We will host a COVID-safe online Citizenship Ceremony on Australia Day. We value and are proud of our role in welcoming new Australian citizens to our increasingly diverse region.”