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Nearly $300,000 for survivor, but nothing for RAAF re-enactment.



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  Australian Labor Party   National ALP

Stephen Martin - Nearly $300,000 For Survivor, But Nothing For RAAF Re-Enactment http://www.alp.org.au/media/0301/smmsraaf260301.html Tuesday, 27 March 2001

Nearly $300,000 For Survivor, But Nothing For RAAF Re-Enactment Stephen Martin - Shadow Minister for Defence

Media Statement - 26 March 2001

The Minister for Defence and Chief of Air Force have today withdrawn their support for an historical re-enactment of the Royal Australian Air Force's first overseas flight through Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Stephen Martin, the Shadow Minister for Defence, revealed today.

"This decision comes after the admission by RAAF last week that it did not follow its own rules in spending $289,063 on allocating a Caribou aircraft for use on the Survivor program," Dr Martin said.

"It appears that, as a result of the above expenditure, RAAF no longer has the funds to proceed with supporting the proposed re-enactment despite an earlier commitment to do so from the Chief of Air Force, Errol McCormack, and after a year of planning.

"The flow on effects of this decision are even worse as the project organisers have also been advised that any Federation funding for the project will not be forthcoming as a result of RAAF's decision to withdraw its support.

"The proposed journey would have incorporated a nationwide competition to attract 50 young people to participate in individual sectors of the trip.

"The flights, using three historical aircraft, were to depart from Point Cook and finish at the Solomon Islands, stopping at RAAF Bases at Sale, Nowra, Richmond, Williamtown, Amberley and Townsville along the way.

"RAAF has admitted that there was a fundamental breakdown in procedures that lead to it being unable to recover the costs of the Caribou's appearance in the Survivor program.

"The RAAF has reneged on a promise that now means an important historical re-enactment in the year of RAAF's 80th anniversary will now not proceed.

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"The Minister and the Chief of Air Force should intervene to ensure that this project goes ahead - or does the Minister think that taxpayers' money should be used to support a U.S. commercial television program at the expense of an important event in RAAF's 80 year history?" Dr Martin said.

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Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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