AN online petition opposing the proposed co-naming of Mount Panorama has collected almost 500 signatures in just four days.
The petition was launched at www.change.org on Friday after the Western Advocate revealed negotiations were well advanced to have the Mount formally co-named Wahluu, in recognition of the region’s original inhabitants.
Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council (ALC) has applied to have the name Wahluu formally gazetted, and Bathurst Regional Council has indicated it would support the move.
Supporters hope the gazettal will be finalised in time for Bathurst’s bicentenary in May next year, but the move has sparked plenty of discussion on social media sites – much of it negative.
The online petition, entitled Leave the name as it is, is addressed to Bathurst Regional Council, councilors and advisors.
“Mt Panorama is well known, globally as the best motorsport place in Australia, and within the top 10 in the world, it is the name people think of when they think of Bathurst,” the petition reads.
“This name is etched into generations of people Australia wide. Why change a winning formula, why fiddle with perfection?”
A number of the signatories left reasons for their support of the petition, with several suggesting “political correctness” was behind the proposed co-naming.
“Mount Panorama has been known just as that for years, in Australia and overseas,” one wrote.
“There are books, movies, video games and documentaries on this Mount that is Australia’s landmark.
“Keeping the name as Mount Panorama does not mean we are being racist, racism does not even come into it and should have not even been mentioned in the beginning.
“I am getting sick and tired of the words ‘racist’ and ‘racism’ being brought into things just to make a point or make things change.
“When will we live in a world where things can be left as they are, racism is a thing of the past, all conflicts ended and love is just recognised as love no matter the gender of each
person in the relationship. People need to stop bringing their personal beliefs into everything.”
Bathurst ALC chief executive officer Toni-Lee Scott yesterday moved to calm anger over the co-naming proposal, saying there was no threat to the name Mount Panorama.
However, she said co-naming the Mount would be a powerful signal of reconciliation.
“It is not our intention to rename the circuit or replace the Mount Panorama sign – they are landmarks worldwide,” Ms Scott said. “If you want to use Wahluu, use it. If you don’t want to, don’t.”