The Nationals WA Member for South West Colin Holt says the Premier needs to arrive in Albany later this week with a $25,000 cheque to fix a funding shortfall in the city’s 2020 Anzac Day commemorations.
Mr Holt is calling on the Labor Government to cover expenses associated with extending the city’s renowned April 25 dawn service to as many people as possible.
“Albany RSL has been left scrambling to fundraise so it doesn’t have to downgrade the service and people don’t miss out on participating in such an important occasion,” Mr Holt said.
“The Premier and his Cabinet – who are visiting Albany this week – should acknowledge this iconic event and stump up $25,000 needed to ensure those who are unable to climb Mt Clarence or find a place at the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial can still take part in such an important occasion.
“In recent years thousands have experienced the service via the big screen at Anzac Peace Park but that could in jeopardy without the funding.”
Mr Holt said the popularity of Albany’s ceremony had grown in recent years following the National Anzac Centre’s opening and the success of the four-year Centenary of Anzac commemoration, both of which put the coastal city’s significant involvement in The Great War on the global map.
However, a gap in funding for this year’s commemoration means some regular activities might not operate this year.
“Off the back of the extremely successful Field of Light: Avenue Honour installation, Albany can expect thousands to experience the Anzac Day dawn service where the tradition began in 1930,” Mr Holt said.
“Experiencing the service from the Anzac Peace Park is moving considering it is on the shore of Princess Royal Harbour, from where 41,000 men and women departed Australia to join the war. It would a big loss if activities such as this couldn’t remain on the city’s Anzac Day schedule.
“The Labor Government has a duty to assist the Albany community in leveraging the social and economic benefit this event can bring by maximising the opportunity for direct involvement in the dawn service.
“That means coming armed with $25,000 to rescue commemoration activities under threat.”
Leader Mia Davies said the Labor Government was so busy bragging about its economic credentials it had forgotten about supporting regional communities.
“If the Labor Government wants to lure people to regional WA like they say, then they need to step up and respond to issues threatening major regional events,” she said.
“Albany RSL has done a magnificent job with the service over a long time but will be stretched to meet the expectations for Albany’s Day commemorations, so it is incumbent on the State to lend assistance and ensure people don’t miss being involved in the occasion.”