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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9225

Ms KING (BallaratParliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing) (10:45): One of my favourite images of the Ballarat Avenue of Honour is the original footage of the opening of the Arch of Victory in 1920 by Edward, the Prince of Wales. This footage shows Ballarat in all of its complexity: hundreds of people from every walk of life cheering, commemorating and celebrating. Last year I joined the Governor-General at the official reopening of the rejuvenated and restored Arch of Victory. The government invested over half a million dollars in the restoration of the magnificent arch at the beginning of the avenue, and the arch now looks fantastic.

Unfortunately, however, as people drive along the avenue they get to a point where things are not as they should be. They find the avenue severed by the Western Highway and, slightly further north, the Ballarat-Ararat rail line. It has been that way ever since 1993. Early in July I visited the location and viewed the neglected section of the former avenue between the rail line and the highway—now poignantly known as no-man's-land.

The rail line that continues to block an uninterrupted flow of this avenue results in many ex-service personnel not being appropriately recognised. I met with the Avenue of Honour Committee president, Bruce Price, while visiting the avenue. The committee and I are pushing for the avenue to be fully restored by placing a level crossing at the rail line. I know that many family members are unable to find trees of their relatives who served in World War I. The work will require $1 million. I have since spoken with Minister Albanese about the importance of funding such a vital project and I have written to him to outline the importance to the people of my region of seeing this avenue restored to its full length. I will continue to work hard to see this outcome delivered in time for the commemoration of the Anzac centenary, marking 100 years since our involvement in the First World War.

On another matter, I want to acknowledge the private member's motion by the member for Fraser, which I understand will be debated later today in this chamber, regarding the death of Peter Norman. Peter's brother Laurie, who lives in Learmonth, is in my electorate, and he will be in Parliament House today with his mum. As we know, Peter was a tremendous athlete, winning a silver medal in the 200 metres in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Peter used his success in those Olympics by wearing a human rights badge while at the podium to show his support for African American athletes who stood up for equal rights and an end to discrimination. His courage to stand up for his fellow athletes so publicly is a reflection of his great Australian character. The role of Peter Norman in furthering racial equality will always be remembered, especially by those people across my own community who know his brother so well. I want to add my voice to the motion that will be debated in this chamber later this evening and also offer my apology to Peter Norman, to his brother who will be here in parliament today and to his mum for what happened subsequently.