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Yass RSL sub-branch calls for security boost at ANZAC Day ceremonies following Blue Mountains dispute

Organisers are calling for stronger security at the ANZAC Day march in Yass following concerns about the Blue Mountain events.

The Blue Mountains RSL sub-branch announced on Wednesday it would cancel several ANZAC Day commemorations as it could not afford increased security measures.

It claimed the NSW government imposed the requirement of new bollards and water barriers to block streets – reportedly in light of last year’s terrorism attacks in Nice and Berlin.

The next morning, Mayor Mark Greenhill threw a lifeline and said he would help them meet the costs.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay confirmed no law was passed requiring tightened security at ANZAC Day marches.

He said the barriers were only for the Blue Mountains to close the Great Western Highway.

But Yass RSL sub-branch honorary secretary James Ward said he could see the benefits of extending the measures to other ceremonies, including in his own town.

“We are also just off the Barton Highway,” Mr Ward said.

“Although police block off either side of our march on Yass Valley Way, they aren’t strong bollards or water barriers or anything, so it [boosted security] is definitely something we need to take into consideration.”

However, Mr Ward said the sub-branch would also need significant financial support from the Yass Valley Council or NSW government if those changes were made.

“I will wait to take advice from police in the next couple of months,” he said.

No other councils in the ACT region expressed a desire for heavier traffic management.

Goulburn Mulwaree and Queanbeyan-Palerang councils assured people they were not aware of any increased costs to their events, which would go ahead as planned.

A NSW Police spokesperson would not detail security measures but said they consistently reviewed the need for extra resources.

“This incorporates monitoring incidents both domestically and overseas, and assessing whether there’s any potential impact on local events,” the spokesperson said.

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

North-West metropolitan region commander, assistant commissioner Denis Clifford, said he understood 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.”

A spokesperson for NSW Acting Premier John Barilaro reiterated Blue Mountains was the only council that had contacted the government about traffic management costs on ANZAC Day.

“Any requests would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,” they said.

“Security arrangements covering ANZAC Day and other major events are a matter for NSW Police Force.”

The Yass ANZAC march will form at the Club House Hotel on the corner of Lead and Comur Streets and its ANZAC Day service will be held at the Cenotaph in front of the Memorial Hall.