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Additional funding to commemorate Vietnam veterans.



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MEDIA RELEASE

MARISE PAYNE Senator for New South Wales

Additional funding to commemorate Vietnam veterans

4 July 2006

The Australian Government will provide a grant of $7,000 to help Sydney veterans commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Liberal Senator for New South Wales, Marise Payne, announced today.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has approved the grant which will go to the NSW branch of the Vietnam Veterans of Australia National Council. As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, the Vietnam Veterans’ Day ceremony held annually in Martin Place has even greater significance, and is expected to attract over 500 attendees, including ADF personnel, veterans and members of the public.

Senator Payne said this grant would assist the people of Sydney to recognise and commemorate the service Australian servicemen and women in Vietnam.

“ We should never forget the courage and sacrifice of Australian soldiers, particularly during the Vietnam Conflict,” Senator Payne said.

“ For many years, Vietnam veterans’ efforts went unrecognised, but - thankfully - they now receive the respect and acknowledgement they deserve. This is a special anniversary, and I am pleased that additional funding has been given to commemorate our veterans.”

August 18 marks the 40th anniversary of arguably the most well-known action of the Vietnam War involving Australian forces. On this day in 1966 Australian soldiers from D Company 6th Battalion - The Royal Australia Regiment - encountered an enemy force of more than 2500 in a rubber plantation north of the village of Long Tan. Although heavily outnumbered, the Australians held firm with a remarkable display of courage and determination until a relief force arrived.

Senator Payne said $4.5 million had been committed in the Budget commitment for grants to fund major commemorative activities throughout Australia.

“ The Australian Government has consulted Vietnam veteran organisations in developing a range of commemorative initiatives and will continue to work with them to ensure the great service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans is fittingly acknowledged and honoured,” Senator Payne said.

Funding is still available for major State-based commemorative events and reunions, while smaller, local activities will continue to be funded through the Saluting Their Service grants program.

Application forms for grants to commemorate Australia’s contribution in Vietnam are available from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, telephone 133 254, or online at www.dva.gov.au/commem/commac/guidelin/guidelin.htm#apply.

ENDS