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Budget 2006: Remembering Australia's role on the western front.

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Tuesday 9 May 2006


The Australian Government has committed $10.5 million as part of the 2006-07 veterans’ affairs budget to ensure the service and sacrifice of Australians on the Western Front during World War I will not be forgotten.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Billson, said the Australian Government’s commemorations program aimed to ensure that future generations understand and appreciate our proud wartime heritage.

“Some 295,000 Australians served in France and Belgium at battlefields such as Fromelles, the Somme, Ypres and Le Hamel, affirming their place in Australia’s military history. These fields became the final resting place for 46,000 brave Australians.

“To honour them, and all those who served, the Australian Government will undertake a number of projects to ensure Australia’s contribution on the Western Front will be honoured and remembered.”

These projects include: • $7.9 million to rebuild the Australian Corps Memorial, Le Hamel, France. The existing memorial has deteriorated badly in the extreme climatic conditions and has been vandalised. The new design will preserve essential features of the original memorial,

while incorporating more information about Australians who served on the Western Front; • $0.3 million to develop an interpretive display explaining Australia’s involvement in the Third Battle of Ypres (the Battle of Passchendaele) to be incorporated in a new

museum at Tyne Cot War Cemetery in Belgium. Australia sustained major losses at Ypres and this display will ensure Australia’s contribution is remembered; • $2 million to erect interpretive panels at Western Front battle sites telling the story of Australia’s involvement; • $0.3 million to conduct a feasibility study into establishing an Australian interpretive

centre on the Western Front. Such a centre would seek to highlight Australia’s contribution during the Western Front battles of World War I.

“With the passing of the last of Australia’s World War I veterans to have served on the Western Front, it is important that their contribution is not forgotten, and is remembered and valued by future generations. These initiatives will help to ensure we continue to honour these courageous Australians and their great sacrifice,” Mr Billson said.

Media inquiries: Shane Fairlie 0408 680 442