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Labor backs Anzac project
Picture: Laurie Benson Mark McGowan has pledged more than $15 million to Anzac centenary commemorations in Albany.

A Labor Government would commit $15.6 million to Centenary of Anzac projects in Albany if it won the State election next year.

The major policy announcement is sure to put pressure on Premier Colin Barnett to outline Liberal Anzac plans.

The amount would be by far the biggest contribution to Albany’s Anzac plans to date, with about $6.5m in Federal money for the Anzac Interpretive Centre the only formal funding commitment so far.

Launching WA Labor’s Centenary of Anzac policy paper in Albany on Friday, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan promised $17m in Royalties for Regions money would be allocated to Anzac-related projects in WA, with $15.6m for Albany alone.

The funding would include $2.3m to finish the $8.9m interpretive centre, $7m to upgrade the Mt Clarence memorial precinct and $6.2m for upgrades to Mt Adelaide.

A further $1.43m would be spent on commemoration events in WA, including the re-enactment of the departure of the troop convoys from Albany in 2014.

Albany Centenary of Anzac Alliance chairman Peter Aspinall welcomed Labor’s announcement.

“It is significant because it covers virtually all of the major initiatives that we want to undertake to get the commemorations off the ground,” he said.

Both parties have indicated the planning of the centenary commemorations should be bipartisan, but Mr McGowan’s announcement puts pressure on Premier Colin Barnett to outline the Liberal funding plans in detail.

Since the Federal Government’s $5m commitment to the interpretive centre in April the alliance has been awaiting an expected announcement from Mr Barnett’s office, but so far the Premier has been silent on specifics.

Mr Aspinall said he expected an announcement from the Premier soon.

“Whether (Mr McGowan’s announcement) pressures him or not, we’d certainly look forward to an announcement from Mr Barnett,” he said.

In response to Friday’s announcement, Mr Barnett made it clear his Government would make a “significant” financial contribution to the centenary and also co-ordinate commemoration events.

“The Government is looking at a number of initiatives to mark the celebration, more than just the interpretive centre,” he said.

“The cost and scope of these initiatives are still to be determined.”

A meeting between the Premier, WA RSL and alliance members, including Mr Aspinall and Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington, is scheduled for tomorrow.

keir.tunbridge@albanyadvertiser.com