The report from the ANZAC consultative Committee to the Australian government
On 12 October 2011, the Australian Government set up the ANZAC centenary consultative Committee and gave it responsibility for advising it and for submitting recommendations for the commemorative program for the Centenary of the First World War until 2018. Chaired by the former Army Chief of Staff, General Angus Houston, and assisted by six theme based working groups, the consultative Committee submitted its report to the Australian Government on 1 March 2013.
The report points out that two related themes are fundamental for the Centenary of the ANZAC: the reminder about the service given and the sacrifices made by those who fought in the 14-18 war and that tribute be paid to all the men and women of Australia who have fought in the century since, in wars and peace keeping operations.
A uniting heritage
The Committee points out once more that the ANZAC Centenary will be a powerful and unifying event, supported by initiatives which actively encourage the participation of every Australian and calls upon the Government to act as a catalyst at all levels. This is why it is the Committee’s wish that the Centenary program maintain a balance between the major national projects and the local initiatives and that it bring together every community in Australia, whatever its linguistic and cultural origin.
The Committee strongly urges the business world to play its part in the Centenary and invites businesses to reflect on ways by which they can contribute either by making donations to the public fund for the ANZAC Centenary or by making contributions in kind.
The strategic framework
In order to produce the program, the Committee has put together a strategic framework which is based around three major approaches:
- Teaching and research ;
- commemoration ;
- arts and culture.
The Committee has come up with 25 recommendations, including multiple initiatives, such as exhibitions, concerts, bursary programs, information campaigns aimed at the Australian public or even suggestions concerning the major dates of the battles that ought to be commemorated.
Finance and merchandising
The report highlights the already major financial contribution that the federal Government has already agreed to make. Something like 115 million dollars have already been committed to initiatives relating to the Centenary. This sum notably includes an investment of10 million dollars for a remembrance path to be built running along the western Front, in France and in Belgium.
The Committee has urged the Australian private sector to support the work that the State is doing and to contribute by every means possible to the ANZAC Centenary.
On 21 April 2013, the Australian Government published its response to the consultation Committee. Of the 25 recommendations in the report, 22 were accepted outright and 3 in principle, subject to a more detailed study.