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No increased threat to NSW Anzac Day: Govt

NSW Police has assured the public there is no risk of terrorism ahead of Anzac Day commemorations.The van rampage that killed 10 people in the Canadian city of Toronto is a “salient reminder” for NSW authorities as they prepare for thousands of people attending Anzac Day events across the state.

NSW Police and the state government have urged residents not to let the threat of terrorism deter them from attending events on Wednesday.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke insisted there was no specific threat to Anzac events, and a suite of security measures were in place to keep the public safe.

“The incident overnight in Canada is a salient reminder to us of what can occur,” Mr Cooke told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

“I am very confident we have in place a number of strategies to mitigate against that type of activity.”

The government will be reviewing its strategies following the Toronto incident, which happened on Monday afternoon (local time), with measures already in place to decrease the risk of any attacks, especially “low-level” ones, NSW Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott said.

Steel-enforced bollards will be positioned along the Sydney CBD march route and in other “vital asset protection” areas, Mr Elliott said.

This will be complemented by uniformed police, plain-clothes police, CCTV and airport-style bag checks.

Mr Elliott said while no city in the world was “100 per cent safe,” he urged NSW residents to come out and commemorate Australia’s most sacred day.

“I know Australians are resilient enough and are confident enough and quite frankly, brave enough to put our face up when there is a risk of harm,” he said alongside Mr Cooke.

Australian army veteran and Invictus Games athlete Garry Robinson says the increased security measures don’t detract from the importance of the day.

Mr Robinson, who has competed in three Invictus Games – the Paralympic-style sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women – considers Anzac Day as the “most pivotal” day of remembrance.

“Anzac Day for me is the be all and end all for all those people who made a sacrifice,” he said alongside Mr Cooke and Mr Elliott.

This year, RSL NSW will fundraise for the 2018 Invictus Games during Wednesday’s events, with president James Brown announcing in 2017 the charity would stop fundraising for itself following a scandal over its misuse of funds.

Founded by Prince Harry, the Games will next be held Down Under in Sydney in October.

With Anzac Day also one of three days a year that two-up games can be played across NSW venues, Racing Minister Paul Toole reminded venues to comply with the traditional rules of the game and to remain respectful.

With more than 50,000 people expected to attend events in Sydney, the government is urging people to use public transport with road closures in place from 2.30am on Wednesday.

Australian Associated Press

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