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Government big on rhetoric: short on supply.



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Graham Edwards MP Federal Member for Cowan Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Defence Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT BIG ON RHETORIC - SHORT ON SUPPLY

Over 330,000 National Servicemen’s applications for medals lay dormant in the bowels of the Defence Department in Melbourne

Over 330,000 National Servicemen will not receive their medal in time for Anzac Day 2003.

Graham Edwards, Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Defence, said, “Minister Vale must explain why the applications for these medals have ground to a halt, with most applications laying untouched for months.”

Mr Edwards said he had been informed that processing of applications would not resume until after the end of the financial year. The promises this Government made to National Servicemen prior to the last election are as limited as the meagre funds set aside to provide these medals.

Minister Vale should explain why the allocation of these medals has run into a financial wall, why funds have been cut to the Defence Medals section, and why severe staff shortages are now occurring in this section.

Instead of getting their Medals as promised by the Government, Australia’s National Servicemen have been shunted to the back of the line as part of this Government’s lack of recognition and appreciation for those who serve.

Mr Edwards said, “Dozens of National Servicemen who have rung the 1800 065 149 number for the Army Medals Section rarely get an answer other than a recorded message. This section is staffed by an under-resourced, but dedicated band of workers whose jobs and futures are uncertain because of Government cutbacks in this area.”

Media Contact: Graham Edwards 0418 952 162 9 April 2003