Melbourne calls for a change of the date for Australia Day

An independent survey of Melbourne residents and businesses has found almost 60 per cent want Australia Day to be acknowledged on a different date, leading the Future Melbourne Committee to discuss options and approaches for the 26 January. 

​The City of Melbourne will consider options including advocating to the Federal Government to change the date of Australia Day, while continuing its support for events delivered by other organisations in Melbourne on 26 January. 

The recommendation came from the independent survey by RedBridge, who heard responses from 1,600 people and businesses in the City of Melbourne. 

Council also consulted with the five traditional owner organisations that make up the Eastern Kulin, which unanimously support changing the date. 

Key findings from survey:

  • 59.8 per cent collectively support changing the date of Australia Day, compared with 31.6 per cent who do not
  • 59.9 per cent indicated it was likely Australia Day would be moved from 26 January in the next ten 10 years
  • 55.1 per cent  believe that local councils should have citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day
  • 31.3 per cent indicated activities that acknowledge Indigenous Australians should be held on Australia Day

If endorsed, Council will continue to issue permits for events delivered by the State Government and other organisations on Australia Day, while supporting activities that acknowledge First Nations perspectives of 26 January. 

Citizenship ceremonies would continue to be held, incorporating First Nations elements, including an Acknowledgement of Country, and a community education campaign would be rolled out to help people better understand Indigenous Australian experiences.  

The City of Melbourne is working to advance reconciliation and govern with Indigenous and First Nation peoples, however any decision to change the date must be made at a Federal Government level.

Councillors will debate the motion and make further comments on the issue at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting 6 September.

1 Comment
  1. Niels 1 year ago

    I would like to know the source of this ‘independent survey’ as it is in stark difference to several other similar surveys.
    Deakin University (Nov 2021); 60% want to keep it on 26 Jan.
    Roy Morgan (JAN 2023): 64% want to keep 26 JAN as Australia Day

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