Council debates an alternative commemoration of Anzac Day

By Cassandra Power

MURRAY River Council will still provide commemorative wreaths to memorial sites on Anzac Day despite discouraging attendance at ceremonies.

The scaling back of Anzac Day services is based on advice from the NSW Government.

Mayor Chris Bilkey said he believed the community would continue to hold events to commemorate the diggers but the question was whether council should attend.

Cr Tony Aquino said it would be ‘totally irresponsible’ if council did anything at all, given the age of those expected to show up.

“I’d rather not see this happen at all this year,” Mr Aquino said.

Cr Tom Weyrich said given the significance of the occasion they should consider each event on its merits.

“We need to go through this town by town,” he said.

“I only know Mathoura but I think the dawn service is still a goer.

“The numbers are such that we can maintain 2m separation and I’m hoping the people who do attend will show responsibility and adhere to the rules.

“The commemorative service at the town hall can’t go on because we can’t maintain any sort of separation there, but for my money I’d like to see the dawn service proceed.”

The mayor reminded councillor Weyrich the council had no responsibility in determining the go-ahead for these events and the changing landscape of the times meant there would be more decisions to be made before April 25.

Cr Gen Campbell said she was disappointed the services couldn’t go ahead, but as leaders of the community the council needed to "take a strong stance" and adhere to medical advice.

“To put any of these diggers in any compromised position… it’s clear we need to stay at home,” she said.

“It’s very irresponsible of this council to suggest any of these events should go ahead.

“If people want to pay their respects, I think they should be standing in their driveway at six o’clock in the morning.”