08 June 2010

NSW Parliament passes amendments to ANZAC Memorial (Building) Act 1923 which provide greater accountability

Today the New South Wales Parliament passed amendments to the ANZAC Memorial (Building Act 1923. The amendments appear to provide for greater accountability and a robust ANZAC Memorial Building Trust. Additionally, the changes boost the role of the Returned & Services League of Australia (New South Wales Branch), or RSL. [Disclaimer: I am a member of the RSL.] You can read the amendments in Legislative Review Digest here (Section A).

According to a press release of this afternoon highlights of the changes include:
  • Establish an Office for Veterans’ Affairs within the Department of Premier and Cabinet to facilitate greater accountability and a strategically focussed Trust with effective connections to the centre of Government, cultural and educational institutions;
  • Transfer management responsibility and secretariat function to the Department of Premier and Cabinet;
  • Appoint the RSL President as Deputy Chair of the Trust;
  • Broaden Trustee membership to include the State Librarian, Director General of the Department of Education and Training, and NSW Government Architect;
  • Give the Trust the responsibility to educate the community about Australia’smilitary history and heritage; and
  • Appoint the RSL as Guardians of the Memorial under law (similar to the Cenotaph model), which will give special honour to the RSL and its members, and draws on its capacity to preserve the memorial’s commemorative integrity.
Parliamentary Secretary John Aquilina made a statement on 21 May 2010 regarding the then-proposed amendments which can be found here. Explanatory notes on the bill can be found here.

I'm glad the legislation was introduced and is now passed. It is certainly a step in the right direction.

The RSL has not yet made any formal statement or issued any press release on today's passage of the bill. If the RSL does issue any statement or press release I'll update this post with a link.

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