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Purpose 3: Commemorations

Acknowledge and commemorate veterans’ service and sacrifice, and promote an increased understanding of Australia’s wartime history.

Performance criteria and results

No. Performance criteria Target 2016–17 Actual result 2017–18 Actual result Achieved
✓ Achieved           — Partially achieved           ✗ Not achieved
Performance criteria source: PBS = DVA Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, CP = DVA Corporate Plan 2017–2021
CWGC = Commonwealth War Graves Commission, OAWG = Office of Australian War Graves
  1. New measure as identified in the Corporate Plan 2017–2021. This measure has been established to be more representative of the activity undertaken.
Program 3.1: Provide and maintain war graves PBS p. 67, CP p. 33
3.1.1 The condition of war graves that are the primary place of official commemoration and sites of collective official commemoration that are maintained by OAWG meets CWGC standards. Complaints received relate to 10 or less graves or sites of collective commemoration n.a1 Achieved
Program 3.2: Deliver commemorative activities PBS p. 68, CP p. 34
3.2.1 Events are delivered safely, on schedule and within budget The number of safety incidents reported is less than 1% of those in attendance 100% of events are delivered on time and with less than a 5% variation in actual expenditure compared to budget Achieved Partially Achieved
3.2.2 Government is satisfied with quality The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs confirms the Government’s satisfaction with the quality of each event Achieved Achieved

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Analysis of performance against Purpose 3

Performance criteria category Performance criteria no. Further information in the annual report
War graves 3.1.1 Part 1 Performance – Commemorations
Commemorations 3.2.1, 3.2.2

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Office of Australian War Graves

DVA is responsible for managing the care and maintenance of over 330,000 official commemorations for war dead and post-war dead located in over 2,000 sites across Australia, including 75 war cemeteries and 10 gardens of remembrance, as well as the war cemeteries, isolated graves of eligible veterans and official Australian war memorials in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. This activity is managed by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG).

The OAWG welcomes feedback from the public and the ex-service community on the standards of maintenance and presentation of war cemeteries, graves, official commemoration plaques and monuments. In 2017–18, the performance measure was changed from reporting on the number of commemorations cared for and maintained against the standard set by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to allow for reporting against the complaints and compliments about the care and maintenance of those commemorations recorded in DVA’s client feedback management system. In 2017–18, no complaints were received regarding presentation or maintenance. The OAWG continues to maintain a consistent and high standard.

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Commemorations

DVA successfully coordinated and managed the delivery of a number of international and domestic commemorative events during 2017–18. While a number of events were delivered within budget, four international and two domestic services were delivered with a variation in actual expenditure, compared to budget, of more than 5 per cent. Of those six services, three were delivered under budget and three were delivered over budget. The variations in expenditure were due to changes in the planning and delivery of the commemorative services, including changes to the infrastructure and the support required to deliver the events.

Positive media coverage, feedback and letters of appreciation received from stakeholders, including veterans and ex-service organisations, indicate that DVA conducted commemorative services in an appropriately dignified and professional way.

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Education and awareness

DVA produces educational resources and gathers and publishes stories and images of veterans’ service to educate the community about Australia’s wartime history.

In 2017–18, DVA undertook a number of community engagement projects with the aim of increasing the Australian public’s education and understanding of the effects of war and raising the profile of our veteran community. Specifically, DVA focused on the production of a number of resources to support teachers in the delivery of the national curriculum for primary and secondary school students. The Department continues to refine its education and awareness platform, the Anzac Portal: Beyond a Century of Service website, in order to provide a historically accurate online resource referencing Australia’s wartime history.

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Summary

Based on stakeholder feedback and other performance criteria, it is evident that in 2017–18 the Department continued to perform solidly in the areas of commemorations and educative activities. These activities serve to increase the community’s understanding of Australia’s wartime history and ensure that such knowledge is not lost to future generations, despite the growing generational divide. This, in turn, will enhance the quality of life of veterans and their families by ensuring the ongoing recognition of their service and sacrifice.

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