Cumberland City Council Mayor Steve Christou has responded to claims by Member for Auburn, Linda Voltz, that he had cancelled the Lunar New Year Festival, which is usually held in Cumberland City each year.
Commenting on the cancellation claim, Council’s General Manager Hamish McNulty said:
“It wasn’t the Mayor’s decision to cancel the Lunar New Year festival typically held in Auburn, each year. The decision to not proceed was the result of a Council resolution in July 2020, which included a range of budget savings measures proposed to return Council’s budget to long-term financial sustainability.
“At the time this decision was made the COVID-19 pandemic was in full flight. The decision applied not only to Lunar New Year but to a range of events and services.
“We will still be celebrating Lunar New Year with street flag banners across the suburbs of our community from 27 January until 16 February. The cost of this is approximately $16,000. Previous Lunar New Year Celebrations have cost Council around $60,000. In these difficult Covid-19 economic times, and due to the financial pressures, we are currently dealing with, we need to be careful with spending.”
He said that, in light of these facts, the comments made by Ms Voltz were misleading.
“To also suggest the Mayor doesn’t support small businesses in areas like Berala is a little odd. Only last week he was in the community, actively lobbying for the State Government to provide hardship grants for groups affected financially by COVID-19,” said Mr McNulty.
“Council would be happy to discuss its savings initiatives with Ms Voltz to ensure she has a better understanding of how these decisions are made.
“We are working closely with the Mayor and other Councillors to ensure our full calendar of events will resume when Council is in a better financial position and ideally these events will be factored in next year’s budget.”