Council says Australia Day an opportunity 'to come together' after bushfires

Jane Rutter has performed around the world, released over twenty solo albums and in 2016 was awarded the he Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.
Jane Rutter has performed around the world, released over twenty solo albums and in 2016 was awarded the he Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

Bega Valley Shire Council has said this year's Australia Day events will be a time for residents to "come together" during the current state-wide bushfire crisis.

"Australia Day 2020 will be the first celebratory event of the year for most of us in the Bega Valley as new year events turned into non-events in the midst of our bushfires," council said on Tuesday.

"A big part of celebrating Australia Day is the Bega Valley Shire Citizen of the Year awards, where local people are recognised for their hard work, achievements and community contribution," council said.

Pambula surf club's Michelle Bootes has been named this year's Bega Valley Citizen of the Year, while Bendigo Bank chairman Colin Dunn will receive the Senior of the Year award.

Kate Lewis will be acknowledged as the Young Citizen of the Year, Kiarna Woolley-Blain is the Sportsperson of the Year,and Clair Mudaliar and Jennie Keioskie will share the Australia Day Award.

An official event will be held in Bega on January 26 from 7.30am to 10am in Littleton Gardens, hosted by the shire's ambassador and flautist Jane Rutter.

Ms Rutter has performed around the world, released over twenty solo albums and in 2016 was awarded the he Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

Bega Valley Shire council said Ms Rutter has strong family connections to the area, and holds a deep interest in the region's people and its environment.

Australia Day will also be marked with ceremonies at the Cobargo Showgrounds from 12pm and at Merimbula's Rotary Park from 8.30am.

As well as a citizenship ceremony in Bega, there will be family fun in Littleton Gardens, with a free Bega Lions breakfast, and entertainment from 7.30am.

The official ceremony will start at 8.30am.

"Previously, the decision had been made to allow communities throughout the shire to celebrate Australia Day as they wished to reflect the trend of more people attending localised events rather than going to the official ceremony in Bega," council said.

"Council is extremely grateful to all the community organisations and their volunteers who are heavily focused on supporting local people, families and businesses right now.

"For this reason and to support these groups carrying out such valuable work in their communities, it has been decided that, for 2020, a council-organised official ceremony in Bega will take place.

"Council also sees the day as an opportunity to come together in the wake of our ongoing bushfire experience - to give thanks to those who have been at our side, to support those impacted and access the recovery services available."

Other special quests on the day will be Superintendent John Cullen from Far South Coast Rural Fire Service, Chief Inspector Peter Volf from NSW Police, and Lieutenant Colonel Renee Kidson from the Australian Army.

The Bega Valley Bushfires Recovery Centre will also be open from 10am inside the Bega Civic Centre, adjacent to the ceremony.

This story Council says Australia Day an opportunity 'to come together' after bushfires first appeared on Bega District News.

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