Government funding to the Australian War Memorial is at its lowest since 2003 says Gilmore MP Joanna Gash, and represents a 20% cut to operational revenue this year.
This is an appalling slap in the face to countless war veterans and their families and shows how little the government cares about respectfully preserving the memory of our fallen.
“As far as I am concerned, the Australian War Memorial records the names of 102,000 of our war dead and should be revered as a sacred site.
“It should not be treated as a commercial property and have to be forced to pay its own way but this is where it is heading.
An analysis of finances in this year’s Annual report of the Australian War Memorial reveals the shortfall to $31 million prompting its Chairman, General Peter Cosgrove to write “This year has seen a further reduction in the operational budget for the Memorial…”
“There has been no provision for adjusting for inflation and falls well short of maintaining even a consistent level of funding”, Mrs Gash said.
Mrs Gash has joined her colleagues in calling on the Minister for Veterans Affairs to ensure the AWM be given the respect it deserves by guaranteeing adequate funding for its operations.
3 March 2011 Update
Prime Minister Julia Gillard today reaffirmed the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Australian War Memorial, announcing an additional $8m per year to support its ongoing operations.
The new funding will increase the Memorial’s operational budget by $8 million per year – on top of the Memorial’s regular annual funding which is currently $38 million.
The Prime Minister and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, visited the Memorial today and praised its outstanding contribution to Australian society.
The new funding will ensure the Memorial can adequately respond to increased demands for these events as well as supporting general enquiries, multimedia and educational programs, research centre services and professional historical advice.
Today’s announcement also includes a one off payment of $1.7 million to begin the redevelopment of the Memorial’s First World War galleries.
It is fitting and appropriate that in the lead up to the Centenary a permanent and enduring exhibition is developed for the First World War – this funding will ensure this legacy.
Minister Snowdon will advise the Prime Minister on the best possible program of commemorative events for the Centenary.