Is it un-Australian to cancel Australia Day events because of Covid?

The ongoing effects of Covid-19 restrictions has seen the NSW Government cancel some of its events planned for January 26 including the ferrython, harbour parade and tall ships race.

But for some, the notion of cancelling any event on Australia Day is unthinkable with local councils in western Sydney and the northern beaches still going ahead with their Australia Day celebrations despite the recent outbreaks.

“Any cancellation of an Australia Day event is un-Australian and a cheap and lazy excuse to not conduct a COVID-safe event,” Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“COVID-19 has been around for more than a year now and we have to accept that for the foreseeable future it is something we have to live with. We cannot continue cancelling and shutting everything down.”

Christou said events could go ahead as long as they followed protocols such as QR codes, masks and social distancing.

“It’s very sad that the bed-wetters and cancel-culture philosophers are dictating our agendas before a health directive has been issued,” he said.

“I feel this is taking the easy way out.”

Northern Beaches Council will also go ahead with a number of events at the end of the month “in a COVID-safe way”, according to council’s chief executive Ray Brownlee.

But the council in Parramatta has postponed its Summer Nights events series in what Parramatta lord mayor Bob Dwyer called a “tough decision”.

Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills have also cancelled large-scale events on January 26.