Bendigo council defends anti-terrorism measures despite event cancellation

Bendigo Bank Fun Run Picture: LIZ FLEMING 021114

Council officials at Bendigo have defended the new anti-terrorism measures for events despite the recent cancellation of the Bendigo Fun Run.

Organisers of the annual Bendigo Bank Fun Run announced this year’s event was cancelled due to the increased costs of security measures which included barriers to protect against possible attacks using vehicles.

City of Greater Bendigo’s manager of tourism and major events, Terry Karamaloudis, told the Bendigo Advertiser that they “always had the risk lens on…. but now more than ever”.

The risk assessment for managing community events is being shaped by the Victorian Guidelines for Planning Safe Public Events, a document developed by several state government and emergency service agencies, and recommendations from the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee.

Karamaloudis said it would be irresponsible of the council to grant permits when those guidelines had not been addressed and it was the responsibility of event organisers to meet them.

“This whole exercise is one huge ‘what if’ situation,” he said. “This is about careful, prudent planning in today’s society,” he said.

Event organisers in Ballarat also have to consider such new security measures when planning events, with The City of Ballarat creating its own assessment guide for crowded places, based on the national counter-terrorism committee’s guidelines.

“Should the assessment indicate a risk to public safety, the event organisers are required to liaise with council and Victoria Police in relation to the event specifics in this regard,” a council spokesperson said.

“Every event application and risk assessment are evaluated to determine if the event organiser is to complete a Crowded Places Security Checklist.

“Council officers work closely with event organisers to develop the strategies and appropriate actions that need to be undertaken to ensure risk to event goers is minimised, we are committed to the ongoing safety of our community.”