Police to convene Anzac Day march meeting

Katoomba: Participants in 2016 Anzac Day march in Katoomba.
Katoomba: Participants in 2016 Anzac Day march in Katoomba.

Assistant police commissioner Denis Clifford will meet with council representatives and RSL sub-branches next Monday to talk about how to get this year’s Anzac Day marches happening.

Mr Clifford, North West Metropolitan Region Commander, said he was determined to do all he could to get the marches happening.

He described Anzac Day as a “solemn occasion and a time when we respectfully pay tribute to the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our Diggers”.

He acknowledged concerns about safety and security, alluding to the “environment we currently live in” but said police were not aware of any specific threat to Anzac marches.

“As such, I’ve called for a meeting early next week with all parties involved in organising the Blue Mountains marches to attempt to resolve the situation and ensure this important day of commemoration is not affected,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, said he had sent a letter to the Katoomba RSL sub-branch on December 15 agreeing to pay half the security costs for the marches.

Mr Gay said the letter had also been sent to council but it is understood the letter may not have been attached to the correspondence with council.

It is believed that it is only in the Blue Mountains that marches are required to have water-filled barriers to close roads, rather than the simpler post-and-rail barriers which have been used in previous years.

Mr Gay told 2GB the Mountains’ marches were unique because they required closure of the Great Western Highway.

Katoomba and Springwood marches have no affect on the highway. Blackheath’s march travels one block along the highway from Govetts Leap Road to the war memorial in Blackheath Gardens. Glenbrook’s march crosses the highway en route to the bowling club in Hare Street.

The Gazette is seeking response from the RSL and Mr Gay’s office.