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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 2907

Mr BRIAN MITCHELL (Lyons) (13:45): On Friday, we will commemorate the sacrifice of men and women who gave their lives in the service of this country. As a nation, I think that generally we do well in commemorating the men and women who serve in our armed forces, particularly those who die in service. We have been less successful when it comes to honouring those who return home. I would like to talk briefly about the Tasmanian Headstone Project, which aims to provide a headstone and a record of service on the unmarked graves of Tasmanian men and women who served their nation in conflicts overseas. They may have returned home from the battlefield, but many were victims of war, nonetheless.

Harry Quick is a former member of this place. He and Andrea Gerrard head a small but dedicated team—including very enthusiastic Work for the Dole participants—which manufactures headstones at Cornelian Bay cemetery in Hobart. With the support of local suppliers, the Tasmanian Headstone Project has managed to keep the cost of each headstone down to about $500. There are believed to be around 275 unmarked graves throughout Tasmania, so the sum required to mark each grave is modest, at less than $150,000 all up. The team is scrambling to find funds from various sources, and I know there is broad support for this project from across the political spectrum, but the federal Department of Veterans Affairs has been less than helpful. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars is a small price to pay to ensure that the men and women who served their country are properly remembered. Lest we forget.