Council steps in to save Anzac marches

Blue Mountains council has vowed to step in to try to save this year Anzac Day marches.

Katoomba 2016: The march from Katoomba Street into Lurline Street and to the Katoomba RSL.

Katoomba 2016: The march from Katoomba Street into Lurline Street and to the Katoomba RSL.

The RSL sub-branches had decided to cancel 2017 marches in Blackheath, Katoomba, Springwood and Glenbrook because of the cost involved.

As well as traffic management costs, they were struggling to pay for water-filled barriers to close roads, a new requirement imposed by Blue Mountains police only in the last few months.

Late last night, council issued a statement, pledging its support to the sub-branches.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “The NSW Government anti-terrorism measures are required to be implemented by all event organisers, including the local RSL sub-branches, in the Blue Mountains. I cannot say why these security measures are not required in other locations at this point in time, but this is what we have been told.

“Despite the new security measures, such as the installation of water-filled barriers to prevent vehicle incursion, being a NSW Government requirement, there is no funding forthcoming to cover the unexpected additional costs for event organisers, the majority of which are community groups and non-profit organisations.”

The RSL sub-branches had appealed to the state government for financial help, to no avail.

Cr Greenhill said council, which has stepped in to provide funding for the last two years, would again support the sub-branches “as best it can, within available resources”, to ensure the ANZAC Day marches have the best chance of going ahead this year.

“The possibility of ANZAC Day marches being cancelled is unacceptable. We will continue our discussions with NSW Police and ex-services organisations in the Blue Mountains to find a workable solution,” said the mayor.

Council might provide heavy vehicles to close roads in lieu of the water-filled barriers. Negotiations will continue.