19 Mar 2008

The Australian Government will soon be able to deliver on its election commitment to recognise the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat as a memorial of national significance, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, announced today.

Legislation was today introduced into the House of Representatives to enable the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, with the written approval of the Prime Minister, to declare military memorials of national significance outside of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

“It is fitting that Ballarat’s Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial is the first memorial accorded national status under this new legislation. I expect this to take place in the second half of this year,” Mr Griffin said.

“Dedicated in February 2004, the memorial was the result of the concerted efforts of the Ballarat RSL, Ex-Prisoners of War Association and the City and people of Ballarat. They sought to honour more than 35,000 Australian PoWs held during the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, and to recognise their pain and suffering.

“They built this magnificent memorial with fund-raising appeals and the unwavering belief that our PoWs should be honoured in this way. Despite their great achievement, the previous government refused to recognise the Ballarat memorial as a national memorial. We have now done this.

“I acknowledge the tireless efforts of Catherine King, the Member for Ballarat, to have the memorial recognised nationally as a memorial of significance. Today’s legislation is a result of her work in partnership with the Ballarat community.”

Mr Griffin said the legislation and associated criteria would apply only to eligible memorials located outside the ACT.

“A military memorial of national significance must be of an appropriate, scale, design and standard, and be dignified and symbolic,” he said. “It must be a memorial for the sole purpose of commemorating a significant aspect of Australia’s wartime history and must have a major role in community commemorative activities.”.

Mr Griffin said that, among the other criteria, a memorial must be owned or managed by an authority at the state, territory or local government level and be maintained by that authority.

Point of Contact:

Laura Ryan
0437 863 109