Today’s announcement of larger crowd limits at Melbourne’s ANZAC Day march has failed to resolve confusion for smaller Sub-Branches that is forcing clubs to cancel or scale back commemorations.
While clear directions have been provided for Melbourne’s march to go ahead, suburban and regional clubs still have no clarification on the COVID-safe rules police will be enforcing on April 25.
Despite the Andrews Government having plenty of time to prepare clear guidelines ahead of annual ANZAC Day services, local Sub-Branches have instead been left to interpret the Government’s confusing mess of COVID restrictions.
Shadow Minister for Veterans Tim Bull said suburban marches in Mt Evelyn, Dandenong, Cranbourne, Frankston and Rosebud were cancelled last week due to lack of certainty, while others were awaiting permits and many more simply wanted clear direction.
“The Veterans Minister is encouraging Victorians to attend local services, but it’s Labor’s own lack of detailed directives that has seen marches cancelled and is putting others at risk of not going ahead,” Mr Bull said.
“Sub-Branches are acutely aware of the need to run COVID-safe events to ensure our veterans can safely attend marches and services at their local cenotaph.
“What we need here is for the Government to be proactive. It should have been in touch with the State’s RSL Sub-Branches months ago and continued a high level of communication. Many are confused by the permit system and need clear direction and support.
Local clubs have received no direction on details like:
- Whether those who line a street for a march are included with the figure that gathers nearby at the cenotaph for the service. Is it one crowd, or two, as many attend people may one and not the other?
- What if a club anticipates 800, but 1200 show up – do they send them away, or should it be attendance by registration to ensure the 1000 limit is not exceeded?
- What is the process to inform Sub-Branches if they require permits and, if so, what support is available to obtain administrative approvals?
“It’s not good enough for the Andrews Labor Government to assume Sub-Branches will just fill in the blanks – many have already made the decision to cancel because the Government’s COVID rules are still a confusing mess,” Mr Bull said.
“Veterans Minister Shaun Leane needs to put out a clear directive to all Sub-Branches with a hotline for those that need additional information or assistance.
“With barely a month until ANZAC Day, clear guidelines must urgently be published to ensure local events will go ahead.
“All Victorians must have the opportunity to safely come together to honour the men and women who have given their lives in service of our nation and those who continue to serve today.”