The 2012-13 State Budget has come and gone with no funding announced for Albany’s 2014-18 Anzac commemoration plans.
Speaking on behalf of Premier Colin Barnett at a post-budget lunch in Albany last Friday, Transport Minister Troy Buswell said while Albany did not see a line item in the Budget for funding this year, the State Government was still committed to Albany’s Anzac plans.
Mr Buswell said the State Government recognised it had “obligations” in relation to the $6.5 million Federal Government commitment to the Anzac Interpretive Centre, but he did not reveal if, or when, any State funding would be announced.
During her visit to Albany last month, Prime Minister Julia Gillard strongly suggested the State Government should commit funding to finish the centre.
Construction of the centre is predicted to cost about $9 million, and it is currently unclear where the funding shortfall will be made up.
“I spoke with the Premier about the Anzac Interpretive Centre and other costs that will no doubt need to be met in and around the celebrations in 2014 … and he asked me to assure you that the matter will be worked through with the City,” Mr Buswell said.
Albany Centenary of Anzac Alliance chairman Peter Aspinall said he had not been expecting a line item in the Budget regarding Anzac, but was confident a funding announcement would come from the Premier soon.
“Colin, I think, does things the way Colin wants to, so we very much wait for him to make some announcement, which I must say we’re expecting in a very short period of time,” he said.
However, Mr Aspinall said he expected the announcement may not be regarding the interpretive centre. “We had a submission for $7.03 million for the upgrade of Mt Clarence, and we expect a major announcement would be made around that aspect,” he said.
Mr Aspinall said there was another full financial year to see the construction of the centre to completion and he was confident the funding would come.
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said he was confident the State Government was committed to supporting the plans.