A REPORT by Cockburn council has backed Fremantle’s decision not to have fireworks on Australia Day, finding it too expensive and unsupported by Noongars.
Councillors are set to vote this Thursday on whether to take over the event, which its northern neighbour cancelled last week amidst a storm of controversy and headlines across the nation.
The report by Cockburn staffers found it would cost more to host the event down south, putting it $235,000 out of pocket.
Cockburn’s Aboriginal reference group didn’t support the event either.
“…January 26 is not a day of celebration for Aboriginal people as this was the beginning of a range of past wrongs against aboriginal people which have had devastating impacts that are still negatively affecting Aboriginal people today,” reported officers.
“It is generally viewed as a negative date for Aboriginal community members who are the first Australians and this decision will go towards righting some of the past wrongs against Aboriginal people.”
The report also states that the event would be bad for the environment, is of minimal economic benefit to the city and clashes with its plan for a coastal laser show — “Cockburn Lights”, which would include theatre, art and a hawkers market.
Fremantle previously contributed $120,000 to the event and Cockburn $25,000.
Cockburn officers said Fremantle’s budget did not include additional internal costs, such as human resources for insurance, waste management and rangers’ wages.
They also reported it would be difficult to attract sponsorship, because Lotterywest is the major sponsor of Skyworks and Healthway has previously declined to sponsor Freo’s cracker night.
If the 20-minute display went ahead it would have to be launched from a barge off Coogee Beach Reserve, which is the only location with enough parking, space for crowds, enough distance from boats and marina, and a reduced fire risk.
Cockburn staff noted that Armadale and Perth both have fireworks displays that residents could attend.
Cockburn’s Australia Day event runs from 8am to midday and is popular with locals as they head down to Coogee beach.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK