Page 3205 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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here. I think we need to pay tribute to these two men who are walking the original trail. The Kokoda track, as I think members would be aware, is located in Papua New Guinea and stretches from Port Moresby in the south to Buna in the north. The track is about 230 kilometres. From Port Moresby to Kokoda is approximately 130 kilometres. I think it is a brave effort on the part of David Dredge, who is the driving force behind this.

During the 2000 Olympics, the Olympic torch was carried along part of the Kokoda track, which, unfortunately, offended some people. This caused the track to be closed, as members may recall, for some 18 months. Negotiations with the Papua New Guinea and Australian governments resulted in the establishment of what is now known as the Kokoda Track Authority. Among other things, the constitution of the Kokoda Track Authority is to focus on the significance of the Kokoda track due to its part in World War II.

The significance of the walk, obviously, is highlighted by the fact that August marks the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Pacific during World War II. These two guys, along with other people that they will pick up along the walk, will be meeting up with government officials from Papua New Guinea and will be part of the celebrations to be held at Kagi village. The walk will take them from Owers Corner to Kokoda. Some officials and villagers will be walking on this part of the track. The troop will number around 10 to 15 people. By the time it reaches Kokoda, it is expected to grow to twice that number. Again, it is significant to note that the track that is walked will be the one that is grid referenced in the AIF and Japanese plans from 1942, 1943 and 1945, as opposed to what happened over the last 60 years and in the year 2000.

I think we should also thank Ian Peters of the Telstra countrywide organisation who has donated a satellite phone for the duration of the trip. This is with a view to possibly being able to do talkback along the journey. I think it is worth paying tribute to these men and to the people who have walked with them to support them and obviously support something that is very significant to many people who had a lot to do with World War II and to their families. I wish them well on their walk. They are due back in Australia on Sunday, 28 August—I am sure, for a well-earned rest.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.23 pm.

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