Sydney’s Anzac Day parade will go ahead this year but will be restricted to 500 veterans.
Sydney’s Anzac Day parade will go ahead this year but will be restricted to 500 veterans.

‘Restricted’ Anzac march to go ahead in Sydney

Sydney's Anzac Day parade will go ahead in April, but it will be restricted to 500 veterans marching while the public will be encouraged to stay at home or pay their respects at local services.

NSW continues to forge ahead with plans for statewide events after RSL Victoria cancelled its major Melbourne march two months in advance.

RSL NSW confirmed on Thursday Sydney's Anzac Day CBD march would be an invite-only event in a bid to ensure the health and safety of veterans, particularly from World War II.

The charity will conduct a ballot for veterans to march, with places allocated across each service branch and conflict from WWII to current operations.

 

This year’s Anzac march will be limited to 500 Diggers. Picture: Dylan Robinson
This year’s Anzac march will be limited to 500 Diggers. Picture: Dylan Robinson

 

Members of the public will be encouraged to watch from home. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Members of the public will be encouraged to watch from home. Picture: Dylan Robinson

RSL NSW State Secretary Jeff O'Brien said the outcome was "a great result", on the same day RSL Victoria chief executive Jamie Twidale announced Melbourne's CBD march would be called off after three new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the state, taking the total to 11.

"With COVID the way it is and the restrictions and the difficulty of organising such a large public event, we just didn't feel it was in the public's best interest," Mr Twidale told radio station 3AW.

A modified route for Sydney's CBD march - which usually draws between 12,000 to 15,000 participants - is expected due to this year's smaller numbers, although exact plans are yet to be finalised.

Instead of attending the march, the RSL encourage citizens to attend local services or reflect from home as they did last year with the popularly embraced Light Up The Dawn initiative.

 

Diggers march down Elizabeth Street in 2019. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Diggers march down Elizabeth Street in 2019. Picture: Dylan Robinson

 

Issy Haebich, 9, watches the march make its way along Elizabeth Street in 2019. Picture: Liam Driver.
Issy Haebich, 9, watches the march make its way along Elizabeth Street in 2019. Picture: Liam Driver.

Further adding to NSW organisers' positivity is the successful commemoration of Remembrance Day in November, which went ahead with scaled-down events implementing restricted numbers and social-distancing.

RSL branches across Australia cancelled Anzac Day commemorations in 2020, with special services with restricted numbers broadcast across the country.

Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said the moves would be updated if health advice necessitated it, but said events would still give the public a chance to show their respect.

"This respect for veterans and their families has never faltered, even at the height of a pandemic. We know NSW communities will continue to show their admiration in 2021," he said.

Mr Lee confirmed the 2021 events would follow current health guidelines set out by the NSW Government, meaning within Greater Sydney up to 500 people can attend an event if seated. Up to 2000 can attend if they are assigned a specific seat.

Outside Greater Sydney, those numbers are 3,000 and 5,000 respectively.

 

Originally published as 'Restricted' Anzac march to go ahead in Sydney



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