Orange Anzac Day march will go ahead despite row over the cost of increased security | Poll

MARCHING ON: Veterans will continue to march through Orange on Anzac Day despite security cost concerns.
MARCHING ON: Veterans will continue to march through Orange on Anzac Day despite security cost concerns.

The Orange Anzac Day march will go ahead despite concerns over rising costs to meet State Government anti-terrorism security levels.

If it was not on here we'd all get hung.

Les McGaw, RSL Orange sub-branch secretary

Marches in four Blue Mountains towns were cancelled and later re-instated this week after the Blue Mountains council said it could not afford to pay for new safety measures, including water-filled barriers to protect spectators and marchers.

It followed terrorist attacks in Nice and Berlin where a vehicle was driven into the crowds.

An Orange City Council spokesman said it would continue to provide the same level of protection as last year as it had not been requested to increase security measures or funding for Anzac Day events.

Orange RSL sub-branch secretary Les McGaw said cost concerns should not stop Anzac marches or services.

“We’re definitely still going ahead with ours,” Mr McGaw said.

“It’s respect for all those who gave their lives.

“If it was not on here we’d all get hung.”

Mr McGaw blamed “stingy councils” for the row.

“It’s disgraceful what the Blue Mountains council is doing in my opinion. This is penny-pinching as far as I am concerned.”

Mr McGaw said the Orange commemorations were among the largest outside the Sydney metropolitan area.

“Service personnel, we’d have about 200 marching. And all the schoolchildren take part. There are up to 200 from each school.”

He said more than 1000 people attended the dawn service in Orange.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger in the last few years.”

The march will also go ahead in Molong, where RSL sub-branch treasurer Norm Carpenter said they had not been asked to provide extra funding this year.

“I haven’t heard of anything in that regard. We’ll still march.”

Mr Carpenter said local police provided security and stopped traffic for the Molong march.

He said local veterans were determined to march and would not be deterred by a threat.

“It wouldn’t be the marchers so much, it is the spectators we’d be concerned about,” he said.

The marches in Katoomba, Blackheath, Springwood and Glenbrook will now go ahead after the State Government said it had already committed to paying half of the security costs.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford said there were no specific security threats surrounding Anzac Day marches.

“I understand the concerns about the environment we currently live in, but I would like to assure all the veterans, their relatives and concerned members of the public that we are not aware of any specific threat to Anzac Day marches.”

RSL State President John Haines said he was not aware of other sub-branches being asked to provide extra security and funding after the Blue Mountains.

“We were concerned that it could be the case but we haven’t heard that it is the case,” he said.

“That hasn’t crossed my desk,” he said.


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