NSW revamps Australia Day to focus on Indigenous reconciliation

Premier Dominic Perrottet changes traditional celebrations to factor in a more “inclusive and respectful” program.

NSW revamps Australia Day to focus on Indigenous reconciliation
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Australia Day celebrations in NSW will feature a greater focus on Indigenous people, Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced.

He said the revamped “inclusive and respectful” program would be aimed at “reconciliation and healing”.

The state government and the Australia Day Council of NSW announced the new program this week.

“We recognise that Australia Day means different things to different people and, in particular for many First Nations people, it can be a challenging and distressing day,” the Premier said.

“We acknowledge their experiences, centuries of resilience, and ongoing contributions as culture is passed down to the next generation.”

He said celebrations would begin with the Sydney Opera House being lit up with Indigenous artwork.

At the same time, the Australian flag would be raised alongside the Indigenous Flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

An Indigenous ceremony - The WugulOra, which means "one mob" in the Eora language – would then be held at Barangaroo.

Australia Day Council of NSW deputy chair Yvonne Weldon said the revamped program would “honour the survival of First Nations culture”.

She said it would challenge thinking and “bring together people from different backgrounds to listen to local Elders speak of the strength and resilience of the world’s oldest living culture”.

“The 26th of January is a date that impacts First Nations people. It is a continual reminder of the pain and heartbreak of the changes that have taken place for all First Nations people,” she said.

“The date is about others having the recognition and ownership of the full flow-on effect of our history.”

Traditional Australia Day celebrations such as the Harbour Parade, Ferrython, Tall Ships Race, Salute to Australia and aerial Defence Force displays would continue to feature.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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