LEAH Slockee said local Australia Day events always bring the community together.
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“I am proud to be Australian and there is so much to celebrate in the local area,” she said.
“The history of the Worimi people, the great community spirit, our volunteer firefighters and the amazing natural environment are just a few.”
On Friday 26 January, communities will be at the heart of Australia Day celebrations around Port Stephens and Myall Coast regions.
A host of activities, entertainment and presentations have been organised to celebrate all things that make Australia great.
Australia Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on 26 January 1788, the date Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack to signal the beginning of the colony.
A push to change the date stems from the view that celebrating on a day which commemorates the invasion of lands already owned is offensive to Indigenous people.
Leah, who is a proud member of the Worimi Nation, said Australia Day “is meant to be a day that unites everyone”.
“We are all Australian regardless of our backgrounds or beliefs, everyone has their own opinion about the date and we need to respect these views,” she said.
“We can’t change the past, but we can look to the future and find ways to continue to celebrate our inclusive, multicultural nation together.”
Whether you plan to mark Australia Day with flags and snags or sun and surf, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stressed the importance of celebrating the country’s 40,000 years of indigenous culture.
By Daniel SAHYOUN