An additional $35.5 million will be allocated for the Australian Government’s Centenary of Anzac Programme in the upcoming 2015–16 Budget as planning for commemorative events marking the 100th anniversary of major battles on the Western Front gets underway.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson said that in addition to honouring its commitment to place greater emphasis on the Western Front, the Government would also allocate a further $8.7 million to the Australian War Memorial to compile the official history of Australia’s contribution to conflicts in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“During the Centenary of Anzac, we honour and commemorate the service and sacrifices of generations of Australian servicemen and women in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations from the Boer War to today,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“On Anzac Day this year, people across Australia came out in unprecedented numbers to honour the service and sacrifice of those who have served our nation.
“This additional funding will ensure that over the centenary period we can appropriately commemorate key events both at home and overseas.
“There were 295,000 Australians who served with distinction on the Western Front. Of the more than 62,000 Australians killed in the First World War approximately 75 per cent of Australians were killed on the Western Front,” Senator Ronaldson said.
The additional funding will provide for commemorative events at Lone Pine, Turkey; Fromelles, Pozieres and La Hamel, France; Polygon Wood, Belgium; and Beersheba, Israel.
It will also support a range of commemorative events around Australia, some of which will be organised in partnership with ex-service organisations to mark anniversaries such as the Fall of Singapore and, Australian sacrifice at Hell Fire Pass and the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan during the Vietnam War.
Senator Ronaldson said a key component of the Centenary of Anzac commemorations was to recognise the service of those who have been involved in modern day conflicts and how they continue to carry the Anzac traditions.
“The writing of an official history of our nation’s involvement in the East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will provide us with an invaluable resource for generations to come,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“Since 1999, more than 70,000 men and women have served our nation overseas. Their story of service and sacrifice, in the finest tradition of the first Anzacs, deserves to be told with authority and kept as a record for ever more.
“Compiling the official histories of the East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will create a rich resource of educational and commemorative material for all Australians, for our veteran community, for schools, nursing homes and the general public.
“This initiative will ensure that the stories of those who served in these modern conflicts are never forgotten,” Senator Ronaldson said.
Media enquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203