$200,000 For Australian Peacekeeping Memorial
- Wednesday 13 September 2006

A national memorial to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian peacekeepers is closer to reality, with the Minister for Veterans' Veffairs, Bruce Billson, today handing over a cheque for $200,000 towards its construction in Canberra.

Mr Billson presented the cheque to the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project Committee at a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

"The Australian Government is pleased to be able to lend its support to this important project, in acknowledgment of the outstanding contribution of our peacekeepers to international peace and security," Mr Billson said.

"Since 1947, Australia has been involved in many peace operations around the world, mostly under United Nations mandate, and also through groups such as the British Commonwealth and the South Pacific Forum.

"We have earned a good reputation for our past and present peacekeeping in many of the world's troubled spots, including the Middle East, Cyprus, Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and closer to home in East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

"Whether acting as military observers, maintaining law and order or clearing mines, our peacekeepers have put their lives on the line to ensure peace, safety and delivery of humanitarian aid for refugees and many vulnerable populations across the globe," he said.

Minister Billson said Australian peacekeepers were characterised by their diversity, and included men and women from the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police and state police agencies as well as civilians.

"To date some 30,000 Australian men and women have served and 10 have died in peace operations around the world," Mr Billson said.

"I am confident the Australian Government's funding support will help establish a fitting memorial that will honour past, present and future Australian peacekeepers; celebrate Australia's contribution to world peace and security; and help raise community awareness about Australian peacekeeping," he said.

The web site for the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project is; www.peacekeepingmemorial.org.au

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Cameron Hill
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