• Co-chair of the national NAIDOC committee, John Paul Janke, (L) says they have made the devastating decision to postpone the NAIDOC awards ceremony. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
As greater restrictions are introduced in response to Sydney's outbreak organisers said the event was to be postponed.
Shahni Wellington

25 Jun 2021 - 12:07 PM  UPDATED 25 Jun 2021 - 12:07 PM

The annual NAIDOC Awards have been postponed as Sydney grapples with an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

The event was originally planned for Mparntwe, Alice Springs, but was re-located after the Victorian outbreak due to community safety concerns. 

An intimate awards ceremony was to be held at the Sydney Opera House before an announcement was made on Friday. 

National NAIDOC committee co-chair, John Paul Janke, confirmed to NITV News that the stripped-back affair will also be put on hold. 

"We've made the devastating decision to postpone those awards, given what's happening in Sydney, and in New South Wales, and also the restrictions across the country,"

"We had committee members, award winners, performers, and people coming from communities and remote communities, to stay into Sydney - Coming into designated hotspots, and potentially taking COVID-19 back to their region... So for us, while a tough decision, it was the right decision," Mr Janke said.

Organisers hope to stage the event later in the year. 

"We still want to hold a gala award ceremony for our 10 National Award winners, because we think that their achievements need to be highlighted in such a significant ceremony."

A week-long 'stay at home' order was issued on Friday for the City of Sydney local government area, which the Sydney Opera House is located.

It's the second year running that the NAIDOC awards event has been disrupted by the pandemic, after last year's awards were cancelled outright. 

Alice Springs NAIDOC Awards cancelled due to COVID
The National NAIDOC Committee says the decision to cancel the event for the second straight year is to keep our Elders, communities and children safe.