Gippsland’s Anzac Day services must go ahead

Our RSL clubs are still in the dark on what requirements – if any – the Andrews Labor Government will impose on local Anzac Day services.

Planning is well underway for April 25 commemorations, but country service clubs remain in the dark on how, or if, the Government expects them to comply with restrictions on crowd limits, social distancing or mask wearing.

Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said Anzac Day was too important to Gippsland for the Andrews Labor Government to wait until the last minute to provide a way forward.

“Last year Anzac Day was commemorated during an incredibly challenging and uncertain time.

“Gippslanders who could not stand as one in public, came together in spirit, safely gathering at the end of their driveways to honour Anzac Day at the beginning of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

“Our community now has clear understanding of the responsibilities of protecting public health and keeping each other safe.

“Our local RSL’s are ready and willing to work with the Andrews Government to ensure local Anzac Day ceremonies go ahead in a COVID safe manner.

“The community, local government and our RSL’s deserve a firm commitment from the Andrews Labor Government so the tradition to honour our revered returned and fallen service personnel in 2021 can continue.

“COVID restrictions cancelled our local commemorations last year. At a time when the Andrews Government is saying it’s safe to reopen nightclub dancefloors and have large crowds at festivals, it must find a way for us to remember our veterans.”

Shadow Minister for Veterans Tim Bull said it was pleasing to see the Andrews Government had finally listened to the Liberal Nationals’ calls for a rethink on the Anzac Day march but urged further direction for smaller clubs.

“Anzac Day is deeply significant for all Victorians to remember those who came before us and fought to protect the life we live today,” Mr Bull said.

“Many country communities often have well over 1000 people come together at Anzac Day events across the state – they must be given a clear way forward.

“Setting out clear, common sense guidelines will ensure we can all safely come together on Anzac Day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, those who came home and those who still serve today.”