Greater Geraldton mayor Jerry Clune has called on members of the Federal Government to stop being “wimps” and take charge of the divisive Australia Day date debate, rather than leaving it up to individual councils to decide. The City of Greater Geraldton won’t be joining some metropolitan councils in their decision to move citizen celebrations away from January 26, with Mr Clune saying the Albanese Government was passing the buck to local governments in what he described as a “cop out”. Australia Day events have gradually slipped from some council calendars in WA as communities support changing the divisive day to a date other than January 26 — the public holiday which marks the landing of the First Fleet. At least a dozen Perth councils have downgraded or cancelled their Australia Day celebrations, but Mr Clune confirmed the city’s annual citizenship ceremony and other Australia Day events, such as a public concert and fireworks display will be held as normal. Last year, the Albanese Government gave councils the option of moving their Australia Day ceremonies to within three days before or after the public holiday, but Mr Clune said the issue should not have been palmed off to local government. “They need to take the leadership on it. It’s a bit of a cop out from the Federal Government to say you can do it three days either side of the date,” he said. “They need to be strong on it and take on the role, whereas they’re sort of being . . . wimps on it I would say . . . as a city, we’re not changing the date with any of our functions. It’s always quite a popular day for us.” City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas has blasted Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for making councils scapegoats on the issue. He called on the PM to make a decision and stick to it. Australia Day events in Greater Geraldton include a Mullewa breakfast and in Geraldton, market stalls, a citizenship ceremony and concert and fireworks at Stow Gardens. Mr Clune said this year the citizenship ceremony would be moved into the QEII Centre, with the hall creating a more formal environment. “This will give the new citizens, as well as their family and friends, the opportunity to be a little bit closer to where the action is,” he said.