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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Thursday, 14 May 2015
VA044

CENTURY OF SERVICE HONOURS WW2, VIETNAM

The Government’s commitment to honour Australia’s century of service was outlined in the Senate yesterday, with the release of the Government’s third Ministerial Statement on the Centenary of Anzac.

Reporting on the activities which marked Anzac Day 2015 in Australia and around the world, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, said he was focussed on commemorative events marking other key anniversaries in coming years.

“The 2015-16 Budget contained $35.5 million for additional commemoration as part of the Centenary of Anzac,” Senator Ronaldson said. 

“In August, our commemorative focus will return to Gallipoli when we commemorate the anniversary of the August Offensive at Lone Pine before our attention will shift to the Western Front where Australian forces suffered their heaviest losses but also experienced its greatest success for the First World War campaign.

“Beyond the key centenary anniversaries of the First World War, it is appropriate that our nation honours our still living veterans from the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.”

“One of the key events which will be supported by this funding is the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, including the Battle of Long Tan, the Battles of Fire Support Base Coral and Balmoral and the Battle of Binh Bah,” Senator Ronaldson said.

The Battle of Long Tan, which was fought on 18th of August 1966, saw Australian troops involved in one of the fiercest battles of the war when 108 men from D Company and 6RAR clashed with more than 1,500 Viet Cong troops.

“What was at first believed to be a significant defeat, was soon to be a realised as a decisive victory for Australia as troops returned to the scene of the battle the following day and discovered that the Viet Cong had suffered heavy losses resulting from the battle,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“Since then, the Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan has been the day that we honour and commemorate the Australians who served in Vietnam, especially the 500 who were killed and the 3,129 who were wounded, became ill or were injured as a result of the conflict.

“As a nation, we failed to appropriately acknowledge the men and women who served in the Vietnam War, Australians who served their nation at their nation’s request. It is therefore extremely important that we appropriately recognise their service during the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

“As outlined in my Ministerial Statement, the Government will make further announcements about commemorations for the Vietnam War shortly,” Senator Ronaldson said.

The additional funding for commemorations, including the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, is part of a broad suite of budget initiatives aimed largely at improving rehabilitation outcomes for veterans and reducing the time it takes to process claims. Other initiatives include:

  • Overall spending of approximately $12 billion including $6.5 billion on income support and compensation and $5.5 billion on healthcare for veterans;
  • $10 million to increase the number of claim coordinators to help reduce claim processing times;
  • Providing $3.7 million to extend the in-home telehealth trial for veterans and war widows, and initiative aimed at keeping veterans in their own home and own community for longer; and
  • Streamlining the pathway for review of decisions about entitlements made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

Additional Information: Ministerial Statement on the Century of Anzac & Anzac Day 2015

Media enquiries:  Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
                             Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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