By Danielle Kutchel and Mitch Clarke
With the spectre of Covid still looming, Australia Day celebrations will look a little different this year.
In good news for those planning a BBQ or pool party at home, the State Government has altered the cap on visitors.
Following reduced exposure risk and continued low community transmission, from 11:59pm on Friday 22 January, the number of visitors allowed in your home has increased from 15 to 30.
The City of Greater Dandenong will host a Make Your Move Fun Run at Dandenong Park from 8am, and a hub for free children’s activities at the Drum Theatre throughout the day.
All Covid Safe guidelines will be fully met to ensure public safety on the day. Registrations are required and attendees are encouraged to visit www.greaterdandenong.vic.gov.au/australiaday for more information and to check for updates closer to the day.
The Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony will be held at Springvale City Hall on the day, however this is a private, invite-only event due to Covid. Winners’ names will be published after the event.
Meanwhile, no public Australia Day events will be run in the City of Casey this year, due to the impacts and risks associated with Covid-19.
However, many council-run facilities like Wilson Botanic Park and Myuna Farm will be open to the public.
“Australia Day is an occasion to reflect on what we have achieved, what we can be proud of and acknowledge the contribution that every Australian makes to our diverse, great nation,” a council statement read.
“This is why we continue to run the Casey Australia Day Awards, which recognise and honour outstanding people in the Casey community who consistently go above and beyond in their contribution to the Casey community as a volunteer, professional or community member.”
This year, Covid-19 restrictions permitting, Casey’s Australia Day Awards finalists will be invited to a 2021 event. At this ceremony, Casey’s Citizens of the Year will be announced.
Casey’s Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned alongside a senior citizen and a community group.
The awards ceremony is invite-only but it will be livestreamed to the community on Facebook, so the public can recognise and acknowledge the achievements of the municipalities most outstanding residents.
Seventy people will become our newest Australian Citizens at a private ceremony hosted by the City of Casey on Tuesday 26 January.
The City of Casey also acknowledged the divisiveness of Australia Day: “We acknowledge that Australia day is not celebrated in the same way across our community, or in some cases, at all. Australia Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the resilience and survival of Aboriginal culture and its people.”