ANZAC ceremony support signalled

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ANZAC backtrack: Frankston Council have agreed to offer the Frankston RSL in-kind support for their ANZAC day services, after revoking that support earlier this year. Picture: Gary Sissons

FRANKSTON Council have backed away from plans to drop all in-kind support to the Frankston RSL for the annual ANZAC Day ceremony.

Councillors voted at their 12 August public meeting to donate 80 chairs, 2 trestle tables and a lectern to the RSL. They also agreed to provide “in-kind officer assistance, capped at a maximum of $5000 for Frankston RSL, for event management.”

Among the things council has agreed to assist with is booking security, traffic management, toilet facilities, first aid, a photographer, and food and drink vendors. Council also agreed to assist with the   “provision of and co-ordination of all event management plans and traffic management plans” and to write to “relevant state and federal ministers, with veteran affairs and local government portfolios, requesting state and federal support given the absent quantum of funding from both tiers of government.”

Cr Quinn McCormack said “this is not a monetary provision, it is in-kind assistance that council will continue to provide to the Frankston RSL.” 

“It is also for liaison with the Seaford RSL to determine what assistance, if any, is sought by the Seaford RSL,” she said. “It is incumbent upon council to continue to support this event but do so in a manner that is in keeping with all of the RSL clubs within the municipality.”

Cr McCormack said in-kind support was offered because “it is also mindful of the amount of money and the income that is generated by the Frankston RSL with respect to their poker machines and various other income raising services.”

Cr Steve Toms also cited the RSL’s pokie machine revenue as a concern. “Gambling does a great deal of harm to this community. This community loses millions of dollars through gambling every year and we must acknowledge that it is part of the RSL’s business model,” he said.

“This is still supporting the RSL in conducting their ANZAC day services and is in line with a number of councils across Australia.” 

A Victorian Commission of Gambling and Liquor Regulation report found that gamblers lost over $9.7 million on electronic gaming machines at the Frankston RSL in the 2018/2019 financial year.

Council officers at the meeting said in kind-support is estimated to amount to between $4000 and $5000 “should the RSL actually undertake the service”. They also said that they “benchmarked” between nine and twelve councils who did not provide additional support to RSLs for ANZAC day services.

The initial motion moved at the meeting noted that a letter has been issued to the RSL which committed “funding of $5000 for the Frankston RSL at the mid-year budget review”. An alternate motion was moved which read that council “revokes the letter issued to the Frankston RSL, which was not endorsed by council prior to sending.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 19 August 2019

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