Dress code for citizenship ceremony and aged care development among key items at Council Meeting


Karlie Brady


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The Mayor, Julia Leu, with Douglas Shire's new citizens at the 2019 Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony. Image: Supplied.

The dress code for the Australia Day citizenship ceremony was one of the topics tabled at today’s Ordinary Council Meeting at the Douglas Shire Council Administration building in Mossman.

In September the Department of Home Affairs notified local government councils that ceremonies are to follow the new Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code.

This code includes the requirement to hold a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day, 26 January and that councils are to establish a dress code for ceremonies.

In the lead up to the last Australia Day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new dress code for citizenship ceremonies requiring attendees to dress formally for the ceremonies.


In a statement at the time, Mayor Julia Leu responded saying the heat in the tropics didn’t always allow for this. 

“Business shirts and ties may be comfortable in an air-conditioned office in Canberra, but try wearing that on a scorching hot day in Port Douglas.

“Seriously, who is going to play the role of fashion police, and for what purpose?” she said.

Mr Morrison defended his comments saying it is important is that people treat the day with respect.

“I wouldn't go along to my kids' graduation wearing boardies and thongs," he said.

At the council meeting today Mayor Leu said there was “a bit of a kerfuffle prior to the last Australia day.”

“We have always had people dress appropriately but certainly we live in a tropical environment and people should dress how they like but I have never seen over my many years that anyone was dressed inappropriately.

“We want to ensure that we welcome all our new citizens and their friends and family and we don’t want to have any obstacle in people enjoying their special day.

“The government has made a decision that they want councils to have a policy on this and they want us to advise them on it,” Mayor Leu said.

Council’s official Australia Day dress code policy passed today is: “Conferees and their guests should be dressed in smart casual clothing befitting our tropical environment”.

Other items passed at today’s Ordinary Council Meeting:

This includes the approval of a new 36-room motel & bar.

The proposed development is on a vacant block at 20 Warner Street Port Douglas and Cr Michael Kerr said he is pleased that it will no longer be a vacant block.

“It looks messy so I am to glad to see it happen,” he said.

An Expression of Interest (EOI) to develop further aged care accommodation on a parcel of land next to the now under construction Salvation Army’s Kubirri Aged Care Centre was also put forward today.

The EOI, to be released early next year, will ask the market to propose various aged care business models and gauge how they could work at the site.

An approved masterplan has earmarked facilities such as 2-3 bedroom homes, an activities building, assisted living rooms, community wellness centre, studio apartments and a community garden for the neighbouring parcel of land.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the development of the adjacent land presents a significant economic opportunity for the region.

“We expect this expression of interest to get strong feedback from the market,” she said.

“With construction on the Kubirri Aged Care Centre powering ahead, we can now open up that neighbouring land for further development, encourage more investment and create more jobs in Douglas Shire.”

A revised 2019/20 budget was another item unanimously passed today.

Key changes adopted include an increase in operating revenue and expenditure, adjustments to existing capital expenditure, new capital projects and revised figures from the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

The revised budget shows that adjustments to Total Capital Revenue is $15,398,480 and adjustments to Total Capital Expenses is $19,735,861.

In a statement today, Council said it remains on track to achieve a budget surplus after adopting the revised 2019-20 Annual Budget.

To see the full Council reports on these items and others tabled at the meeting today visit the Douglas Shire Council website.

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