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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1077 ..

In 2011 the then Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, formed the ACT Veterans Advisory Council to keep the ACT government abreast of veterans issues in the ACT and to advise on possible commemorative events for this year, the Anzac centenary. The council is made up of representatives from a variety of organisations who serve the veterans community. These include people with a direct link to defence service or to a veteran. So this could include widows, partners, former partners, children, parents, siblings and relatives of ex-service men and women. I will have the opportunity to meet with the council this Friday and I am looking forward to working with them to serve the interests of veterans in this community.

Upgrades to the ACT memorial just across London Circuit from this building are almost complete. The ACT memorial honours men and women with an association to the territory who have served in war, conflicts, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions and related service throughout the world. Aside from the physical tribute, more than 3,700 names have been added to an online honour roll on the ACT memorial website and the community has an opportunity to nominate those who should be recognised.

Originally designed by Canberra artist Matthew Harding, the memorial is currently having new lighting, seating and interpretive signage added. Three poignant words are being added to the central stone sphere: “mateship, courage, loyalty”. I am sure all members would agree these are entirely appropriate and it is fitting that the memorial receives an upgrade in this year of the Anzac centenary. The works are due to be completed by the end of the month. This work was done in consultation with the Veterans Advisory Council, and I thank them for their input.

The ACT memorial is an important site of remembrance and contemplation. It is also a place of commemoration, and it is my hope that once the upgrade is complete it will be increasingly used by veterans and veterans organisations for important commemorative activities over the coming years.

It is appropriate that Canberra, as the nation’s capital, is at the centre of commemorative activities for the Anzac centenary. Canberra is a destination to truly discover the Australian story. Our past and present service men and women have played an instrumental role in creating the country that we know and enjoy today. The 2015 commemorative activities will encourage reflection and give all Australians and international visitors the opportunity to discover and to comprehend the continuing significance of Australia’s military history. The Australian War Memorial, of course, is the centrepiece for these commemorations. Following this weekend’s welcome-home parade and memorial service for Operation Slipper, the memorial is now gearing up for one of the biggest days in its history, the 2015 Anzac Day commemorations.

At a local level, we recently experienced a fitting tribute to the men who served this country at Gallipoli through the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Anzac tribute on the eve of Canberra Day. Personally, I am very pleased to say that I will be hosting a reception for World War II veterans and their wives later this year.

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