A "colossal waste" and a "theme park" are some of the words used to describe the Australian War Memorial's controversial redevelopment project in a stack of new submissions recently made public.
The National Capital Authority is undergoing a public consultation period over the $500 million expansion, which will see the national institution drastically redeveloped to create larger exhibition spaces while demolishing the critically-acclaimed Anzac Hall structure.
Approval from the national authority is the last major hurdle the project needs to clear in order to get the green light.
It said it had received 599 responses from the public after submissions closed in April and it expected to review them by June.
But the first batch of submissions, totalling nearly 50, has been released and reflected a strong opposition to the plans.
Common themes among the dissenters included opposition of the Anzac Hall's destruction and the planned felling of more than a hundred trees around the grounds.
Many shared concerns over the figure being spent on the project, suggesting it would be better put toward mental health initiatives for veterans.
A spokesperson for the Australian War Memorial said it would not publicly comment on the submissions as they formed a part of the NCA's ongoing deliberative process.
It added it had received positive feedback in its nation-wide survey, undertaken in February, and two earlier surveys undertaken last year.
"The memorial will work with the NCA to answer any questions it has that arise from public submissions," the spokesperson said.
"Two major surveys conducted in 2020, reaching more than 1,000 Australians, continued to demonstrate high levels of support for the project amongst the public (80 per cent) and veterans and their families (85 per cent)."
Another survey conducted in February by the memorial asked more than 4000 Australians about their interest in the gallery's contents along with how they would like to experience it.
Memorial director Matt Anderson said the results showed overwhelming support for the project with only 6 per cent of the respondents being opposed to it.
The war memorial held its own community meetings in March to hear what should be displayed in the new galleries if approved.
The memorial's director Matt Anderson said in February the community consultation would further help the galleries be "representative, relevant, authentic and engaging" following the survey's results.
"The memorial will consult with a variety of communities on the development project to ensure we achieve outcomes in our new galleries that are at least equal to the highest standards we have set in our most recent galleries," Mr Anderson said.
"These 30 national public forums, six focus groups and five targeted advisory groups will all contribute to recognising our veterans and telling their stories in ways all Australians can understand and appreciate."
The war memorial expects the new galleries will focus more on recent conflicts the Australian Defence Force has been engaged in, including those in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
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