[Duluk] Thank you very much Mister Speaker.
My question is to the Premier. Can the Premier please update the house on how the state government is committed to ensuring that our veterans are honoured for their service to our nation by supporting local RSL clubs in their efforts to host ANZAC Day services this year? With your leave, sir, and that of the house I will further explain.
[Leave is sort. Leave granted.]
[Duluk] Local ANZAC Day services in Mitcham and Coromandel Valley are not going ahead this year, and my local Blackwood RSL is having difficulty attempting to organise their service. Due to COVID-19 safety requirements, the Blackwood RSL is required to hire fencing to restrict the number of people attending, and many may require other costs, such as security.
To ensure that this dawn service goes ahead, Premier, and is COVID safe, will you commit to funding any additional costs that COVID-19 restrictions bear on 2021 ANZAC Day services?
[Premier] Thank you sir. And I thank the member for Waite for his question. Of course, we all know that ANZAC Day is our most solemn day of commemoration as a nation a day where we honour those people who have served our nation. We particularly honour those people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms here in Australia.
ANZAC Day last year was severely interrupted and changed quite substantially due to the stage that we were at with regards to the...
[Mullighan] How come you could go shopping on ANZAC Day? You could go shopping but not to your RSL, how come?
[Order] The Premier has the call. The member for Lee will cease interjecting. The Premier has the call.
Of course, last year that solemn commemoration was interrupted by the coronavirus, and I think that the RSL had a very novel approach to making sure that every single South Australian could continue to commemorate this important observance with the Light Up The Dawn initiative.
I am delighted that this is going to continue this year as well, because although we are doing extraordinarily well as a state we are still very concerned about mass gatherings, especially those mass gatherings that might involve some of our older, more vulnerable, more frail citizens, and so we do take a prudent position with regards to this, and for those gatherings that we think are going to be over 1,000 people they do need to get a COVID management plan in place.
There are some clubs that have expressed some anxiety about managing those events, and so what we have seen in South Australia, I think, in the lead-up to and the years subsequent to the Centenary of ANZAC is that quite small gatherings grow almost exponentially each year to the situation that we have now where there are often thousands and thousands and in some cases tens of thousands of people who want to make that solemn observance at dawn on ANZAC Day.
The RSL, of course, are their own organisation. We do not direct them, but we are here to support them. There were some RSL sub-branches here in South Australia that said that they were very concerned that, within their own volunteer capacity, they would have the ability to run the large-scale events that had previously been offered.
We know that many local governments have stepped in to help, and for that we are very grateful. The government also stands ready to help. You might recall, sir, back several years ago we were informed that, in fact, the RSL would not be hosting the barbecue immediately after the dawn service, and Veterans SA stepped in with many people from the RSL, the sub-branches here in South Australia, to make sure that that went ahead.
Similarly, in this instance we want to do everything we can to make sure that this is a very well-attended commemoration, but one that is done in accordance with the coronavirus restrictions that we have in South Australia. I would just encourage the member, in fact or encourage any members where they have sub-branch which is concerned about their ability to manage these events and don't have the support of the local government to assist in this instance to make contact with Catherine Walsh at Veterans SA and I am sure they will find a very will ear ready to lend a hand.