Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King said the Ballarat community will miss out on the opportunity to hear the stories of our nation’s wartime history due to the Abbott Government’s cuts to the Australian War Memorial’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.
“As we mark the 100th Anniversary of the First World War, it’s important that all Australians have an understanding of our nation’s wartime history and the sacrifice of so many,” Ms King said.
“Over the years this program has brought the Australian War Memorial’s vast collection of national treasures to regional Australia, including several exhibitions here in Ballarat.
“Past exhibits have included works by wartime artists and photographers who have documented the role of Australia’s service personnel in times of wartime and peace from our past to the present day.
“Australian War Memorial director, Dr Brendan Nelson has confirmed his disappointment at these cuts that will result in all current touring exhibitions being returned.
“One of the exhibitions the Ballarat community has been looking forward to is Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt which is due to be exhibited at Sovereign Hill in 2017.
“This exhibition tells the story of an enterprising photographer behind the front lines from the French village of Vignacourt who printed and posted photographs of our Great War diggers, allowing Australian soldiers to maintain a fragile link with loved ones back home.
“I call on Senator Ronaldson to ensure that this fantastic exhibit continues on its journey to Ballarat.
“Ballarat is well known for its rich history and heritage and the opportunity to attract world-class exhibitions to our region is not only important for telling our nation’s stories but it encourages visitors to return, supporting tourism jobs and our local economy.
“If this decision is not reversed it will be just another of many in a series of damaging cuts by the Abbott Government that will have a lasting negative impact on our economy and the community.”