FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has congratulated the recipients of three Saluting Their Service grants totalling almost $8,600.
The Piallamore Recreation Reserve Committee will receive two of the grants. One grant of $3,636 to install a new war memorial at the Piallamore Recreation Reserve to commemorate service personnel from the area, while a further grant of $1,307 will be used to install a flagpole at the new Piallamore War Memorial to fly the Australian flag.
Also receiving a grant of $3,636 was the Inverell Shire Council which would be used to restore the RSL Memorial Gates at the Delungra Cemetery.
Mr Joyce said there were more and more Australians who could look to a forebear who served in the military in either WWI or WW2 or any of the other conflicts the country had been involved with.
“The connection to Australia’s military servicemen and women is becoming more pronounced rather than less,” Mr Joyce said.
“Therefore it has a deep commemorative and in some instances almost spiritual connection for so many people as a reflection of who they are.
“We shouldn’t forget these people for once we forget them we forget who we are.
Committee Chairman Mark Stass said the news of the grants was welcome as the development of the Piallamore War Memorial was a long term project.
He said the committee had already received some significant grants of $16,000 and $10,000 from the Tamworth Regional Council and Crown Lands body and the announcement of the Saluting Their Service grants was icing on the cake.
He said the war memorial and new flag pole would not be installed in time for this year’s Anzac Day commemorations but he was sure work would get underway as soon as the committee finished building a ramp to provide wheelchair access to the old schoolhouse.
Inverell Council’s Grants’ Officer Fiona Adams said the restoration would include sandblasting the old gates clean and then repainting them. New posts would also have to be installed to swing the restored gates on.
Mr Joyce said the Saluting Their Service program is an Australian Government initiative that aims to honour the service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women in wars, conflicts and peace operations and promote appreciation and understanding of the role that those who served have played in shaping the nation.
Further information on the program can be accessed on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ website at www.dva.gov.au