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Purpose 3: Commemorations

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

Performance criteria and results

The key activities and their performance indicators are listed below.

Program 3.1: Provide war graves and commemorations

Acknowledges and commemorates the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations. Refer to page 102 in this report for further information on this program.

No. Performance criteria1 Target1 2015–16
Actual
result
2016–17
Actual
result
Achieved
3.1.1

Maintain facilities and individual commemorations in Australia, PNG, South Africa, Korea, Japan, Malaysia & Singapore:

  • War Cemeteries
  • Gardens of Remembrance
  • Memorials to the Missing
  • War Graves in Australia & PNG
  • Overseas graves (non world wars)
  • Post War commemorations
The maintenance of war cemeteries, memorials and graves is undertaken in accordance with Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) published standards. Performance is measured through CWGC inspections and veteran and community feedback. Achieved Achieved
3.1.2 Provide new Post War Commemorations Commemorations are provided within published time frames to meet Australian standards of production/construction. Achieved Achieved
3.1.3 Manage national memorials overseas Memorial presentation meets veteran and community approval and local requirements. Access and equity standards are met and, where applicable, information provided is both accurate and presented in a variety of formats. Achieved Achieved
3.1.4 Implement War Graves related projects Project implementation meets the budget and timing agreed and announced by Government. Partially achieved Achieved
3.1.5 Community awareness and education resources High level of community and veteran satisfaction with quality and accessibility of resources. Achieved Achieved
3.1.6 Grants applications approved Grant applications are processed within timelines. High level of community and veteran satisfaction with grant outcomes. Achieved Achieved
3.1.7 Domestic commemorative events High level of community and veteran satisfaction with commemorative events. Achieved Achieved
3.1.8 Maintenance is undertaken in accordance with CWGC published standards. Performance is measured through periodic inspections.2 100% of inspected graves comply n/a 85.0%
3.1.9 Events are delivered safely, on schedule and within budget2 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 n/a Achieved
3.1.10 Government is satisfied with quality2 The Minister for Veterans' Affairs confirms the Government's satisfaction with the quality of each event n/a Achieved

PNG = Papua New Guinea

  1. Source: DVA Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17, page 60. DVA Corporate Plan 2016–2020, pages 25–26.
  2. New measure for 2016–17. The new measures have been established to be more representative of the activity undertaken.

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Program 3.2: Deliver Gallipoli-related activities

Co-ordinates and manages the delivery of annual commemorative and related activities at Gallipoli. The Department works cooperatively with other Australian Government agencies, New Zealand agencies and Turkish authorities, both directly and through its contracted service provider. Refer to page 106 in this report for further information on this program.

No. Performance criteria1 Target1 2015–16
Actual
result
2016–17
Actual
result
Achieved
3.2.1 Level of community engagement and satisfaction High High High
3.2.2 Media interest Positive Positive Positive
3.2.3 Events are delivered safely, on schedule and within budget2 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 n/a Achieved
3.2.4 Government is satisfied with quality2 The Minister for Veterans' Affairs confirms the Government's satisfaction with the quality of each event n/a Achieved
  1. Source: DVA Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17, page 62. DVA Corporate Plan 2016–2020, page 26.
  2. New measure for 2016–17. The new measures have been established to be more representative of the activity undertaken.

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Performance overview for Purpose 3

Commemorations

DVA successfully coordinated and managed the delivery of commemorative and related events with a high degree of proficiency in 2016–17.

Positive media reporting, feedback and letters of appreciation received from stakeholders and the general public (including veterans and ex-service organisations) indicates that DVA conducted commemorative services in an appropriately dignified, professional and solemn manner.

The Anzac Centenary Program 2014–2018 acknowledges significant military anniversaries for veterans of the First World War and all subsequent conflicts, through its two themes: Centenary of the First World War and Century of Service.

Among the program's achievements in 2016–17:

  • The Department contributed to a national ceremony conducted at the Australian War Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and Australia's service in the Vietnam War. The Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial in Ballarat, Victoria, was used to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.
  • A funding grant was provided to Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association to support commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of Bomber Command Operations.

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Office of Australian War Graves

Feedback received from the public and veterans' groups regarding war cemeteries and national memorials overseas was overwhelmingly positive, reflecting the high standards of maintenance and presentation expected for these sites. The Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) welcomes feedback from the public where graves and memorials may have deteriorated with age and no longer meet the high level of presentation expected. This information is used to supplement that gained through regular maintenance inspections and assists in the planning for ongoing maintenance activities.

While there is a program of regular preventative maintenance for graves and official commemorations, eventually their age will necessitate their restoration or replacement. It is for this reason that when inspected, almost 15 per cent of the graves did not comply with the required standard. All non-compliant graves are subsequently scheduled for rectification with work undertaken at the earliest practicable time.

The Department intends to discontinue measure 3.1.8 at the end of 2016–17. It is proposed to be replaced with a measure that, more accurately reflects feedback on the standard of work undertaken by OAWG, as received from the Australian community. The two overseas projects reported as being delayed in the 2015–16 report were successfully completed in 2016–17.

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Education and awareness

The Anzac Portal: Beyond a Century of Service website has undergone a major structural upgrade, with eight previously stand-alone commemorative websites now consolidated under the site's History section, spanning campaigns from the First World War to more modern operations.

Two major national mail-outs have been conducted, coinciding with the 2016 Remembrance Day and 2017 Anzac Day commemorations. Publications and products included in these mail-outs have targeted both community and school education groups.

Two national competitions have been conducted, aimed at engaging Australian school students in the stories of Australian service in wars, conflicts and peace operations over the past century. These were the Anzac Day Schools' Awards and the Honouring Australian Vietnam Veterans competition.

Oral history interviews were conducted with veterans of the Second World War and Korean War, supporting domestic and overseas commemorations.

A number of public presentations were made to raise community awareness of veteran service, including talks at the Australian War Memorial and History Teachers' Association conferences.

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Summary

Based on stakeholder feedback and other performance criteria, it is evident that in 2016–17 the Department continued to perform solidly in the area of commemorative and educative activities. These activities served to increase the community's understanding of Australia's wartime history and ensure this knowledge is not lost to future generations, despite the growing generational divide. This, in turn, enhances the quality of life of our clients and their families in ensuring the ongoing recognition of their service and sacrifice.

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