Eleventh hour war of words over Anzac Day security funding

Last year the City of Sydney gave $13,000 for street banners and $60,000 towards hostile vehicle mitigation.

In his letter Mr Brown highlighted that the council provided more than $400,000 to the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, $530,000 to the Sydney Writers Festival and $220,000 for Australia Day activities and events.

Two days later Lord mayor Clover Moore wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian alerting her to the request. She pointed out that the NSW Government and the City had provided funding support to RSL in line with their earlier requests.

Veterans make their way down Elizabeth Street, Anzac Day, 2018

Veterans make their way down Elizabeth Street, Anzac Day, 2018Credit:Nick Moir

“Given these discussions, I am surprised to receive RSL NSW’s request for additional funding a week out from the event,” the Lord Mayor said.

A City of Sydney spokesperson told the Herald that the Local Government Act prevented the council from making significant financial contributions without going through a formal grant process. “Given the timing of the request, this is not possible before Anzac Day.”

The spokesperson said they had repeatedly asked Mr Brown for advice on what they could urgently do to assist prior to this week’s event but were still awaiting a response.

“We will work closely with RSL NSW and the NSW Government after Anzac Day to help them better plan for future events, including looking at increasing our support for future events.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Premier and Cabinet said the NSW Government, along with the City of Sydney, provides the NSW State branch of the RSL and the Dawn Service Trust with substantial support for their Anzac Day commemoration events.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring these significant events are delivered successfully.”

NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said a high-visibility police operation, involving general duties officers assisted by specialist commands, will be in place across the Sydney CBD with officers keeping an eye out for dangerous, criminal or anti-social behaviour.

“Although this year’s Anzac Day falls mid-week, we are still anticipating large crowds, so remember the reasons for commemorating this day and act in the true Anzac spirit – look out for your mates,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the National Terrorism Threat Level is “probable” and that has not changed since last year. It was inappropriate for NSW Police to comment further on the specific nature of security strategies.”

Tim Barlass is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald

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