Corrimal Anzac march may go ahead after Diggers insulted over security costs

Photo: iStockDiggers were told they could walk along the footpath if they weren’t able to pay for beefed-up security measures at the Corrimal Anzac march this year, the Illawarra Mercury has been told.

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The Corrimal RSL sub-branch was forced to cancel its march after extra security requirements were imposed to protect against vehicleterror attacks as happened in London and Nice.

Wollongong City Council charged for a traffic plan and Roads and Maritime Services needed close the road –all up costing about $6000.

There is now hope a security company may step in to save the day but not before the good faithof the war veterans had been insulted.

Neil McLean, vice-president of the Corrimalsub-branch,said in one of the meetings to discuss security arrangements they were told they could use the footpath.

KICK IN THE GUTS: Vietnam veteran Neil McLean was disgusted Anzacs were told to pay for their own security. Picture: Adam McLean

“They said we didn’t have to block the road but we could march along the footpath if we wanted to,” he said.

“That’s where the public stand to look out for the march and pay their tributes to marchers too.”

Late on Thursday sub-branch secretary Greg Nolan told the Mercury there may be a way through.

“We’ve received an offer from a Sydney security company but until we get the paperwork we still don’t know,” he said.

The Diggers are smarting that they were told to fund the measures themselves.

Mr McLean, 74, who served attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in theVietnam war, said it was a “kick in the guts”.

“We don’t do it for ourselves –we march for the ones that never came home,” he said. “We’ve all got mates who served who didn’t come home. That’s who we do it for.

“It’s something that’s very close to every Australian’s heart.”

The Mercury has asked the State Government and Wollongong City Council what they will do to help.

INSULT: The 2016 Corrimal march shows the Anzacs where they should be – marching in the middle of the main street. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Police declined to say what security wasrequired, citing“operational” reasons.

“When events include activities on roadways, a traffic management plan forms part of the overall operational strategy,” police said.

“These comprehensive plans are consistently reviewed to determine whether any additional measures are required. This incorporates monitoring incidents both domestically and overseas, and assessing whether there’s any potential impact on local events.

“We are doing everything within our powers to keep the community safe.”

Member for Keira Ryan Park called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to intervene.

“If costs are the barrier then the NSW Government needs to come to the party and ensure this situation is resolved,” he said.

Illawarra Mercury