The funds-strapped Australian War Memorial has been given an extra $8 million to support ongoing
A comprehensive review of funding arrangements for the Canberra museum was ordered by the federal government last year being told its budget was approaching crisis point.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said in a joint statement the increased financial support was on top of normal funding.
“The new funding will increase the memorial’s operational budget by $8 million per year – on top of the memorials regular annual funding which is currently $38 million,” they said.
The announcement also includes a one-off payment of $1.7 million to begin redevelopment of the memorial’s First World War galleries.
Ms Gillard and Mr Snowdon visited the memorial on Thursday and praised its outstanding contribution to Australian society.
They said the government was investing in the future of the memorial so it could continue to deliver its core activities and prepare for the centenary of the Anzac landings and other important anniversaries.
“It is fitting and appropriate that in the lead up to the centenary a permanent and enduring exhibition is developed for the First World War – this funding will ensure this legacy.”
Ms Gillard also announced that Mr Snowdon will take on a new role as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac.
He will advise the prime minister on the best possible program of commemorative events for the centenary.
The war memorial revealed last year how government cost-cutting measures, applied across all national institutions, were impacting its operations.
In letters to the government last year, obtained by the Australian newspaper under freedom of information laws, war memorial council chairman Peter Cosgrove repeatedly sought more funds, warning of inexorable decline.
Service organisations and the opposition backed an urgent funding increase which had been expected in the May budget.