Sydney thanked for its patience during APEC

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has thanked residents of host city Sydney for their patience during the APEC summit. Sydney was subject to the largest and tightest security operation ever seen in Australia.

Those in the city were subject to restricted areas in the central business district, which were fenced off, closures of some of the city's iconic sights, road closures and traffic congestion. "I do want to thank the people of Sydney for their forbearance in the face of the normal restrictions, security wise, that are involved in conducting these international gatherings," Mr Howard said.

Some Sydney residents have complained that the security measures were disproportionate to the actual requirements and costly. Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) head Christopher Brown complained of the excessive costs and police presence. "I'm so embarrassed and annoyed," said Brown. "Where was the sense of proportion? We replaced Olympic volunteers with riot squads." The TTF is an industry group representing tourism, transport and infrastructure sectors and a self-described "leading CEO network", which had supported the APEC summit coming to Sydney.

Mr Howard also thanked police officers involved in the security operation. "I particularly extend my thanks to the officers and the men and women of the NSW and Australian Federal Police," said Mr Howard.