Local RSLs across the Mallee still haven’t received clarification on how to run COVID Safe Remembrance Day commemorations next week.
RSLs across the state have called on the Andrews Government to explain its confusing rules, which appear to require volunteers to police vaccine passports and to turn away unvaccinated veterans from local commemorations.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said Mildura’s ANZAC Day march in 2021 had been an important opportunity for the community to reconnect after restrictions forced services to be cancelled in 2020.
“Cancellation of services in 2020 took a heavy toll on the veteran community,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s now weeks since RSLs raised the call for an explanation on how to run safe, compliant commemorations, but the Andrews Labor Government and Veterans Minister Shaun Leane are silent.
“Remembrance Day is an important time of reflection for veterans, their families and our community to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
“It would be a heartbreaking loss to the community if local RSLs were forced to cancel or scale back services because of confusing bureaucratic red tape.”
In early October, the Victorian Government claimed it was working with RSL Victoria to provide further clarification for sub-branches. But just six days out, they’ve failed to come through.
Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs Tim Bull said the guidelines as they currently stand will exclude unvaccinated veterans and their families from attending.
“It’s not good enough for the Minister to say it’s a matter for RSL Victoria, because it’s State Government guidelines that need clarity,” Mr Bull said.
“I’m aware of one sub-branch that has been told to apply the density quotient of one person per two square metres, so they are looking to access a trundle wheel to estimate the open space around the cenotaph to see how many can attend.
“Surely we can provide these volunteers with more assistance and accuracy in their preparations.”