Australia Day activities are being made COVID-safe by Townsville City Council to help reduce community transmission of the virus.
“Townsville is not immune to COVID-19 and we’ve seen a larger number of cases in Townsville in the last few weeks than ever before,” Mayor Jenny Hill said.
“Council has listened to Queensland Health’s COVID infection rate advice, which forecasts more than 50 per cent of locals contracting COVID by early February.
“It’s important that we reduce community transmission as much as possible and this means limiting the number of people attending to facilitate social distancing in Townsville on Australia Day.
“Council has made the decision to postpone some events, including the Fun Run and the Beach Day Out, however we’re hopeful to hold them later this year.
“Some events will go ahead, including the Australia Day Awards, the Flag Raising Ceremony, and the Citizenship Ceremony. These are events where we can limit numbers and ensure there is appropriate social distancing and contact tracing in place.
“Council will continue to follow Queensland Health’s advice. Thank you to everyone who has been willing to adapt as we work to keep our city as COVID-safe as possible.”
Cr Hill, other dignitaries and the Australian Defence Force will attend the long-held State Flag Raising Ceremony.
This traditional ceremony includes the Australian Defence Force Royal Guard of Honour, Band of the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, the raising of the Australian, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Governor of Queensland and Townsville flags, a 21-gun salute and a flypast.
The State Flag Raising Ceremony will be livestreamed for the first time for members of the public to enjoy from home via Council’s Facebook page.
The Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony will also go ahead at Jezzine Barracks with limited numbers in attendance.
A Survival Day dawn service to commemorate First Nations people who have lost their lives and for those who were taken from their homelands and disconnected from country, ceremony and cultural practices will go ahead with COVID-safe measures in place.