I urge people to stop and think about Australia’s wartime sacrifices today on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood. This battle was part of a wider series of battles collectively known as the Flanders Offensive, which included the Battles of Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres—sometimes referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele. In eight weeks of fighting between September and October 1917 the Australian Imperial Force suffered some 38,000 casualties, including more than 5,700 at Polygon Wood.
In the Australian Defence Force (ADF) our personnel work in high-pressure environments and learn skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and the ability to adapt to new technologies. Those talents are in demand in a modern economy and I know businesses in Townsville are employing veterans and using their skills to succeed. I’m encouraging local businesses and local veterans to look at the award categories and nominate so their achievements can be recognised.
AUGUST 22, 2017: The Liberal National Government delivered on an election promise when the first Ministerial Statement on Veterans and Their Families was delivered to Parliament. The Statement, which can be requested through my office, outlines the work done to support 291,000 individuals, of which about half are veterans…
Later today I will join with our Vietnam Veterans at a memorial service in Mackay which marks Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. Today we remember nearly 60,000 Australian men and women who served in the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1975, including 521 who lost their lives and more than 3,000 who were wounded. Today is also the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan involving 105 Australians and three New Zealanders of D Company 6RAR in one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War. In the Battle of Long Tan a total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.
I would encourage community and ex-service organisations to apply for grants which are now available for projects that deliver sustainable services for younger veterans. The Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program recognises the importance of the transition phase for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they leave the military. $1 million is available in the second round for projects that build community support and service the unique needs of younger veterans transitioning to civilian life. Applications are invited for a range of initiatives including mentoring, team building, self-improvement, and creative activities that promote social inclusion and peer-to-peer support for younger veterans.