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Blue Mountain Anzac services to go ahead

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017

The RSL is pleased several Anzac Day marches in the NSW Blue Mountains region wont be cancelled after a row erupted over who would pay security costs.

It was announced on Wednesday that marches in four towns - Katoomba, Blackheath, Springwood and Glenbrook - had been cancelled because RSL groups said they could not afford to pay for the anti-terrorism measures required by police and the state government.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay on Thursday slammed the Blue Mountains local mayor, saying he had sent a letter to the Katoomba RSL sub-branch on December 15 saying the state government would stump up half the security costs and it was acknowledged several days later.

Mr Gay told 2GB Radio on Thursday the letter was also sent to the Blue Mountains council.

He noted that Anzac Day commemoration parades are unique in the Blue Mountains because they require the closure of the Great Western Highway.

The state government imposed the new security rules, including requirements for water-filled barriers protecting crowds, after last year's terrorist attacks in Nice and Berlin where a truck was driven into crowds.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill told 2GB Radio on Thursday he had never seen Mr Gay's letter making the offer.

Mr Greenhill said the council would pitch in for the cost of traffic management.

It will cost an estimated $40,000 to hold the four marches, according to The Daily Telegraph.

"It is perplexing Blue Mountains City Council can afford a $130,000 campaign opposing Badgerys Creek airport, yet cannot afford to honour our veterans," a spokesman for Police Minister Troy Grant said.

John Haines, president of RSL NSW, said he was pleased the parades would not be cancelled.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford also weighed into the dispute, issuing a statement saying it would be "extremely disappointing" if the Blue Mountains marches didn't go ahead.

"Anzac Day is a solemn occasion and a time when we respectfully pay tribute to the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our diggers," Mr Clifford, who is also the commander of the North West Metropolitan Region, said on Wednesday night.

"I understand the 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."

Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans Association boss Peter Jones told The Daily Telegraph that cancelling the marches would be devastating for diggers and the townspeople.

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