Miranda Korzy, elected last year on a NSW Green Party ticket to the Northern Beaches Council in the ward of Pittwater, will not be celebrating Australia Day.
She told Green Left that she urged council and staff to rethink the celebration and instead honour First Nations peoples’ resistance.
“Instead of acknowledging the suffering and resistance waged by Aboriginal people, the council is conducting an indoors citizenship event. I am attending the Ride with Aboriginal Peoples, organised by the Aboriginal Support Group Manly Warringah Pittwater.”
Korzy’s letter to council noted that “celebrating Australia Day is offensive to the traditional custodians of the land we live on and holding citizenship ceremonies on that day reinforces the reality of an unwanted occupation and its consequences.
“We know, for example, that large numbers of the local population were infected with smallpox and died shortly after European arrival on what we know now as the Northern Beaches.”
Korzy is also concerned about council holding an event indoors during the Omicron virus surge.
The local Aboriginal community will mark the day of mourning with a Ride with Aboriginal Peoples, organised by Uncle Neil Evers.
Evers wants people from across Sydney to attend the event, now in its fourth year. “When I found out I was a descendent of Bungarree, the first known Aboriginal person to circumnavigate Australia, I had to try and rectify the horrible history Indigenous people have been subject to,” Evers said.
Korzy has been very active in Protect Pittwater, a group set up to stop the merger of Pittwater Council and the Northern Beaches Council.
She said such a big council makes representation difficult. “Pittwater is only represented by three councillors and we can be outvoted by others on any issue.
“My ultimate goal is for Pittwater to de-merge. If we got Pittwater Council back, we would have 11 councillors. More councillors would mean more of us being able to work more closely with the community.”
She pointed to the former Pittwater Council’s strong environment focus. It also stood up for the community against the NSW government’s privatisation of Mona Vale Hospital.
“We still have an urgent care centre in Pittwater, but it is not a full emergency department. We still have the Mona Vale Hospital site because the community fought for it. The Pittwater Council made this difference.”