Boer War, peacekeeper memorial get fundraising boost
The federal government has finally bowed to a long-running campaign to make it easier to raise funds for memorials in Canberra to honour peacekeepers and Boer War soldiers.
The proposed memorial to honour Australia's role in the Boer War will also be given $200,000 in seed money, the same amount given previously to the peacekeeping project.
The Labor government had previously not renewed the tax deductibility status for the peacekeeping memorial. The decision to make donations tax deductible makes it more likely the memorials can be built along Anzac Parade adjacent to memorials to other conflicts.
Designs for the memorials have been unveiled and campaigns begun for public donations.
The Boer War ran from 1899 to 1902, and involved servicemen from every colony, and after 1901 from every state, fighting alongside each other for the first time in a war, with contingents being sent to South Africa before and after Federation.
More than 16,000 Australians volunteered to fight for Britain in the war, with about 250 killed in action and more than 260 dying of illness. Six Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australians for their efforts.
More than 66,000 Australians have served as peacekeepers in over 50 United Nations peace operations.
Each memorial will cost $3 million to $4 million to build.
The chairman of the peacekeeping memorial project, Tim Ford, said the group was delighted to regain tax deductibility status.
''This puts us in a much more positive position to try to complete getting the money and getting the memorial built,'' he said. ''Without the DGR [tax deductibility status] it's almost impossible to get corporate Australia or individuals to give significant amounts of money.
''We have raised about $28,000 this year … and we're very advanced, we're ready to go and we can build in nine months from the time we get an assurance of the funds.''
Tony Larnach-Jones, spokesman for the Boer War memorial project, said the association was very grateful to the government for the tax deductibility status and the seed money.
''We had to bankroll the project ourselves whereas all the other memorials in Anzac Parade were given the seeding money first,'' Mr Larnach-Jones said.
''The memorial will feature four horsemen and will be magnificent and quite striking and will add to Canberra considerably. The thing we are about is making Australia aware of what happened in the Boer War and there's no point having a memorial in Anzac Parade for the seagulls to sit on unless the people realise what Australia did and how the Australians died all those years ago.''
Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said people could honour the service and sacrifice of peacekeepers and those who fought in the Boer War by donating to the proposed memorials. ''The [peacekeeping] memorial will be a reminder for all Australians of the hard work undertaken by our peacekeepers in many of the world's troubled areas, such as Rwanda, Cambodia, the Middle East, Mozambique, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan,'' he said. ''The men and women involved in [the Boer] conflict deserve to be remembered with a lasting and fitting tribute to their service and sacrifice.''