The Nationals WA will make entry to Albany’s National Anzac Centre free for all visitors if elected on May 18.
Senate candidate Nick Fardell and candidate for O’Connor John Hassell announced the commitment in Albany this week.
Mr Fardell said reducing the barrier to entry would help local residents and visitors from interstate and abroad gain a better understanding of Australia’s Anzac history and the rich Anzac legacy in Albany.
“The National Anzac Centre has quickly become a site of national significance and a major drawcard for visitors to Albany and the Great Southern,” Mr Fardell said.
“It’s imperative that every person gets the opportunity to visit this centre without impost. As a site of national significance, The Nationals believe the Commonwealth should cover the entry cost and that’s what we will be strongly advocating for when we get to Canberra.”
At present, a family of four faces an entry cost of more than $70 while seniors and pensioners are forced to shell out $21 each.
“Entry to this treasured Centre should be free for everyone,” Mr Fardell said.
“Serving as both a museum and a lasting reminder of the sacrifice made by so many Australians and New Zealanders, The Nationals believe the National Anzac Centre is too important to charge an entry fee for.”
Mr Fardell and Mr Hassell raised their commitment with Minister for Veterans Affairs, Darren Chester MP, while he was visiting Albany this week. “The Minister was very supportive of the idea and was keen to progress it following the election,” Mr Fardell said.
Removing the entry fee could be achieved by annexing the National Anzac Centre as part of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
“Each year, more than 1 million people gain a better understanding of Australia’s war-time history and the legacy of our brave servicemen and women by visiting the Australian War Memorial, its satellite storage facility and its touring exhibitions,” Mr Hassell said.
“There is no charge for people wishing to see these exhibits.
“Albany has been recognised for its rich Anzac heritage having been chosen as the home of the National Anzac Centre, and by coming under the umbrella of the Australian War Memorial, there will be even greater opportunity to share this legacy.”
Mr Hassell said becoming part of the Australian War Memorial would also ensure funding for the National Anzac Centre in perpetuity.
“While it is still a new building, the day will come when the Centre will require funding for maintenance, extensions or refurbishments, and placing the facility under the Australian War Memorial Act would forever ensure it receives the funding it needs.”