It's little surprise that the Albury community has reacted angrily to news that the city's council will not be presenting community awards or conducting citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day next year.
Perhaps not as much about the change itself, but moreso the manner in which the decision was made and then communicated.
Or, in this case, not communicated.
That chief executive Frank Zaknich felt the change could be quietly ushered into the public realm via a council newsletter, and without consultation, is puzzling.
The Border Mail broke the story on Monday ironically enough, just two months after Albury councillors endorsed a communications and engagement strategy, leading mayor Kylie King to say "our community has consistently told us that they need more input into council decision-making and would like to be better informed about decisions, projects, events and more. (This) reinforces our commitment to engaging with our community early and often, so that they are aware of what's going on in their city and have the opportunity to have their say."
Cr King's comments are in direct contradiction to Mr Zaknich's decision, which he defended as an operational matter, but was described as a "captain's call" by St Matthew's Church minister Father Peter MacLeod-Miller.
Against this backdrop, the council would have been wise to follow the lead of Indigo, which sought community feedback before opting for Australia Day events and awards functions to remain unchanged.
Albury Council, to its credit, has sought community feedback on a host of matters in recent times, including the half-day Gold Cup holiday and the Eastern Hill master plan. Was it scarred by the six-month debate of the first half of 2021, when tensions flared over the installation of flag poles to fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at Monument Hill?
There's no doubt Australia Day and its impact on the Indigenous community is a delicate issue but just because it's a sensitive subject the community should not be disenfranchised in the decision-making process.