House debates

Wednesday, 15 August 2018


Armistice Centenary Grants Program

7:35 pm

Photo of Michelle LandryMichelle Landry (Capricornia, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm sure it will please those present to know how well Capricornians are receiving the great community grant programs this coalition government is delivering throughout the region. The most recent of these is a suite of grants to help our communities commemorate the centenary of the Armistice. The Armistice Centenary Grants Program is a program of one-off grants designed to help engage communities, especially our kids, in the history and the importance of the conclusion of the bloodiest war in our history. Across the nearly five years of battle some 416,809 Australian men volunteered to fight for king and country. Take a moment to let that sink in: 416,809 young men. Such a number, taken from a country of fewer than five million, makes Australia one of the biggest per capita contributors to the war effort.

As we all know, volunteering for war is not simply a case of buying a ticket to adventure. Tragically, our young nation lost over 60,000 sons forever, with a further 156,000 suffering a range of injuries through battle, gassings and time spent as prisoners of war. There is no escaping the fact that this war and those that followed played a huge role in shaping the national image of Australia: this new Federation of British colonies continues to be a source of awe and inspiration for generations of Australians. The signing of the Armistice at 11 am Paris time on 11 November—the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—signalled the end of the bloodthirsty calamity of the First World War, sealing victory for the Allied forces and defeat for Germany.

Since 2014, the centenary of the Great War and myriad events that comprised it have been used as poignant reminders of the hell of war. With November fast approaching, we will reach the centenary of the Armistice and, with it, the end of five years of centenary commemorations. I'm proud to be part of a government that is so committed to our regional communities by providing the Armistice grants funding to help communities commemorate such an important moment in our history. Five groups across Capricornia have been successful in garnering funding for their Armistice centenary efforts. Schools, local government and RSLs will benefit.

Home to one of the country's most unique Anzac Day services, Finch Hatton RSL Sub Branch will receive $8,421 to create an honour wall with framed photos and information on the servicemen and women of the Great War. In the north of my electorate, Mackay Regional Council will use $10,910 in federal funding to conduct an assessment of the heritage value of the region's First World War memorabilia. This will surely lead to a better understanding of the community's assets and help uncover some real gems. I'm particularly pleased to note that the 1st Light Horse Regiment CQ and the Rockhampton Historical Troop Museum will be able to display their fantastic collection of historical military uniforms at the Rockhampton Heritage Village. This will be $15,947 well spent, as visitors to the heritage village get a better understanding of the attire of battle from the last 100 years.

As so many have said for so long, the history and the message of Anzac is carried forward by our children. That's why I'm so pleased that we also have two schools who'll receive grants to help keep the story of the Anzac alive. St Mary's Catholic Primary School in North Rockhampton will construct a metal mural with media presentations and artworks around the school's flagpole. This project will receive $3,500 in federal funding, which represents great value for money given how impressive I'm sure the finished product will be. Finally, the installation of a memorial wall dedicated to the servicemen and women of this monumental conflict will be constructed by St Lawrence State School's P&C using $10,000 from the Armistice Centenary Grants Program. St Lawrence is a tiny town located on an isolated section of the Bruce Highway. I'm sure this project, whilst small, will have a lasting effect on the school and the community. These grants make small community-building projects possible. They help create jobs whilst also helping our community remember and honour our military past and the men and women who gave everything for our freedom. Lest we forget.