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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3397


Mr ROBERT (Fadden) (13:35): The coalition supports the Albany alliance proposal for an Anzac Interpretive Centre at Mount Clarence. The proposal is to built the interpretive centre within the contours of Mount Clarence using the 270-degree view of King George Sound. An interactive display will show where the ships which formerly carried Australian and New Zealand troops to the Middle East starting on 1 November 1914 were position in the harbour. The first Australian and New Zealand contingent of 28 troopships sailed from Albany, Western Australia, bound for Egypt. The escorts included HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney, the cruiser HMS Minotaur and the Japanese cruiser Ibuki. Only one in three of those who sailed in the first convoy would return physically unscathed at the end of the First World War. It is something that should be remembered. There are also plans to enable families to see which ship their family member was on for the voyage. On 1 November 2014 there are plans to have ships once again in King George Sound to replicate what it must have been like 100 years ago. I think it is an exciting proposal. The alliance has proposed a recreation of the dawn service at Mount Clarence which was originated there by Padre White in 1916 and is widely believed to be the first dawn service in Australia. Its recreation will mark its significant anniversary. There are also plans to improve the facilities at the Light Horse Memorial at Mount Clarence. The total package will significantly enhance Albany's place in the Anzac story and make it a place to visit for any family with a link to Gallipoli and the Australian military story.

My good colleague Senator Michael Ronaldson has visited Albany twice since the election to view the site and get a better understanding of the projects. In fact, Minister Snowdon followed Senator Ronaldson to Albany in July last year to announce the long awaited funding for a scoping study. The project also has wide support from the Liberal candidate for O'Connor, Rick Wilson, who is a passionate advocate of the proposals. The government has also belatedly committed $1.3 million for a scoping study, although there is no financial commitment beyond 30 June for the construction of this centre. This is part of the broader issue of lack of funding for the centenary of Anzac commemorations across Australia. So we call on the government to ensure that this year's budget contains the funding commitments for the centenary of Anzac to provide certainty for the people of Albany.