Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will be relocated from Oxford Street for a second year in a row, with organisers saying the move provides the best shot of proceeding amid COVID-19 uncertainties.
Possible ongoing restrictions and potential further COVID-19 outbreaks mean a ticketed event at the SCG is the best way to go, Mardi Gras chief executive Albert Kruger says, with organisers able to adjust the 2022 event accordingly.
"There's still uncertainty of what March is going to look like for us," he said on Thursday.
"Mardi Gras can't guarantee that in the next few months things will be back to normal and we can safely have hundreds of thousands spectators on the streets.
"The parade is too important to the community to risk having to cancel."
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore backed the decision to move the parade, which usually draws about 250,000 spectators.
"(It) is prudent given the uncertainty posed by the pandemic, which we will continue to face for some time yet," she said.
But organisers plan to return the parade to Oxford Street in 2023, to mark the 45th anniversary of the event, when it will be the centrepiece as Sydney hosts WorldPride.
The theme for the 2022 festival, which will run from February 18 to March 6, is United We Shine, which Mr Kruger hopes will serve as a reminder of the power of the communities' collective voice.
"It is a call to stand united against the inequalities LGBTQI+ people continue to face, and empowers us with the strength that our history shows: that we have the power to create a more equitable society," he said.
"The time to use our voices and rally together has never been more important than it is now."
Tickets to the parade will cost $25, but Mardi Gras members will get free entry for two people.
Some 3000 free tickets will be given to people who can't afford a ticket.
Australian Associated Press