‘No threat’ to Illawarra Anzac Day marches

NO CANCELLATIONS: RSL sub-branch president Peter Poulton says Wollongong's Anzac parade will go ahead as usual. Picture: Georgia Matts
NO CANCELLATIONS: RSL sub-branch president Peter Poulton says Wollongong's Anzac parade will go ahead as usual. Picture: Georgia Matts

The head of Wollongong’s RSL Sub-Branch has moved to reassure residents that Anzac Day marches in the region will go ahead as usual, despite reports of cancellations due to terrorism threats in other areas. 

Early on Thursday it was revealed RSL sub-branches had decided to cancel 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.

Wollongong RSL president Peter Poulton said he was not aware of any changes to Anzac marches in the Illawarra region.

“We’ve never had to consider water filled barriers – there are obviously security issues that come into play but we’ve never had to consider that,” Mr Poulton said.

“The police would advise us of any credible threats and we’d be advised to take action if there was the need. I have full trust in both Wollongong and Shellharbour councils and the police in this region, so if they think we need to do something they would let us know.

“Anzac Day is about freedom, so to call it off for any reason would be treating people’s sacrifice in vain.”

On Thursday morning, the Blue Mountains council vowed to step in to try to save the marches. 

Additionally, a senior police officer from the region said he would do everything he can to see the marches go ahead.

North West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford said police were “not aware of any specific threat to 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,” he said.

“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.”