Stardust Circus will return to the Bayside local government area next year in a new location.
Bayside Council last night approved an application by the circus to return in June, 2019.
The circus has previously operated at Cahill Park, Wolli Creek for more than ten years but this location is no longer available following the upgrade of the park including the installation of a new playground.
Bicentennial Recreation Park, Rockdale has chosen as an alternative location for 2019 until the F6 Motorway works commence.
Bayside Council received a petition calling on circuses that include animal performances to be banned.
The petition with 2139 signatures was collected through chagne.org by local resident Tim Clifford.
But a council report said that of the 2139 signatures collected, 1505 were from outside Australia and 22 were Bayside residents.
Other residents have contacted the circus to ask when it would be returning to the area, the council report said.
“Council has been approached by Stardust Circus to explore the possibility of operating within the Bayside Council Local Government Area - western side,” the council report stated.
“The company advised that they have been receiving a number of enquiries from the Wolli Creek Community on when they would be returning to the area.”
The council invited both circus representatives and the organiser of the petition, Mr Clifford to address a briefing of councillors
Adam St James from Stardust Circus attended and presented details of the circus operating model, their positive track record and evidence that the circus possessed all the necessary licensing and approvals through the relevant authorities.
Mr Clifford was unable to attend the briefing.
The council report said the circus had operated in Bayside for 10 years, has been well-attended and has received very limited negative feedback from residents.
It also found that the global petition against circuses had resulted in 22 responses from Bayside residents.
But Port Botany councillor Scott Morrissey said he felt the council should not be supporting the application.
While there was no allegation of cruelty, a petition was lodged and he felt that the next generation should not grow up thinking that was right that animals were driven around the country in cages and performing.
Cr Andrew Tsounis said it the council was not the moral compass denying whether or not the community can go to the circus.
“It is up to the community to make their own decision,” he said. “If the community don’t want to go they won’t.”
Cr Michael Nagi said the Stardust Circus is regularly inspected by the RSPCA.
The lions come from the same breeding stock that has supplied the circus since 1890.
“This is 20 generations of lions being born and bred in captivity,” he said.
“The circus has been going since 1890. If they had done something wrong would it still be going?
“They have been coming here 10 years and there has never been any incident reported.”
Mayor Bill Saravinovski supported the return of the circus.
“I’ve been to the circus many times. If there was any cruelty or matters raised we would be the first to come down on them and shut them down,” he said.
“I’ve never heard any allegations.
“As a kid it was the thrill of my life to go to the circus.
“We don’t have a mandate for denying 158,000 people the chance to go to the circus because of the 22 people who signed this petition.
“I’ve had zero phone calls expressing concerns about the circus.”