Federal Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton says the way we commemorate ANZAC Day this year will unfortunately need to change, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, governments and officials are working to find ways for Australians to continue to observe this solemn day.

“Attending an ANZAC Day service in my electorate every year has always been a staple in my diary,” Mr Coulton said.

“It is an important commemoration where we demonstrate our respect and admiration for ANZACs past and present.

“The National Cabinet has agreed that ANZAC Day ceremonies and events should be cancelled due to the high proportion of older Australians who attend such events, and the increased risk posed to these individuals.”

Expert advice within Australia and internationally, which says that large public gatherings present an unacceptable risk to the community, could not be ignored.

“This decision has not been made lightly and has taken into consideration a number of key factors, primarily concerns about the welfare of Australians and other visitors travelling to services,” Mr Coulton said.

The Australian War Memorial is planning to broadcast the national Dawn Service to support individual reflection on this important day. The Australian Government will also be exploring other opportunities to ensure all Australians have the opportunity to pay their respects and reflect on the service and sacrifice of our veterans.

“As a nation we recognise the importance of ANZAC Day, and on 25 April this year I encourage my constituents to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of the more than 102,000 Australians who have died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations,” Mr Coulton said.