Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program: Honest History Factsheet No. 4

Minister Ronaldson’s media release of 24 October (as revised) included these key points:

  • $2.46 million in new funding relating to 275 approved applications;
  • total of 606 applications from 123 electorates approved so far;
  • $5.8 million ‘made available to date’.

Analysis

Details of individual projects are in the Minister’s release. There are further details in the spreadsheets on the Anzac centenary website although, at the time of preparing this Factsheet, the spreadsheets lagged behind the information in the media release: the spreadsheets at 9 November contained details for just 77 electorates. (Administrative issues are discussed in Centenary Watch at ‘Update: 1 September – Local grants’.)

The latest 275 approvals add to the previous 331 announced. We have analysed all 606 projects below in four tables, including a table that gives cumulative figures. The projects are categorised according to the Program’s eligibility criteria, which are explained in the Appendix to Factsheet No. 1.

Table 1: ACLGP projects approved (as at 12 June 2014) against eligibility criteria

No. Value  $ Av. Value $
Memorials & monuments (criteria 2 & 3) 123 1 464 949      11 910
Events & research (criteria 1 & 5)   79    853 720      10 807
Preservation (criterion 4)   10      50 354         5035
Total   212 2 369 023       11 175
 

Table 2: ACLGP projects approved (12 June-5 August 2014) against eligibility criteria

No. Value  $ Av. Value $
Memorials & monuments (criteria 2 & 3)   54    414 034         7667
Events & research (criteria 1 & 5)   55    495 814         9015
Preservation (criterion 4)   10      65 514         6551
Total   119     975 362         8196

Table 3: ACLGP projects approved (6 August – 9 October 2014) against eligibility criteria

No. Value  $ Av. Value $
Memorials & monuments (criteria 2 & 3)  137 1 207 881    8817
Events & research (criteria 1 & 5)  129 1 204 923    9340
Preservation (criterion 4)      9      50 235    5582
Total    275 2 463 039    8957

Table 4: ACLGP projects approved (CUMULATIVE to 9 October 2014) against eligibility criteria

No. Value  $ Av. Value $
Memorials & monuments (criteria 2 & 3) 314 3 086 864 9831
Events & research (criteria 1 & 5) 263 2 554 457 9713
Preservation (criterion 4)   29    166 103 5728
Total   606 5 807 424 9583

 

To sum up, 52 per cent of the projects approved to date involve the building of new memorials and monuments or the refurbishing of old ones. These projects account for 53 per cent of the money allocated to date. Events and research account for another 43 per cent of projects and 44 per cent of money.

Comment by David Stephens

As recorded in previous Factsheets (No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3) and comment, Honest History is particularly interested in the types of projects approved and what they say about the commemorative preferences of Australians, given the constraints of the Program.

The types of project this time around continue to fall into categories in similar proportions to earlier tranches. The same criticisms of the Program apply as Honest History has made previously: it is unimaginative and its criteria ensure that a traditional view of commemoration continues into the future. In the article on 30 June, we said:

It is not surprising that a program which starts from a particular conception of what is appropriate commemoration and sets its ground rules accordingly should produce a predictable range of projects. The community – or, at least, the part of it which is interested – is presented with a received view of commemoration, one that has essentially been unchanged for almost 100 years. It accepts the received view and goes on to propose projects which will perpetuate it.

If, on the other hand, the criteria had been wider (and perhaps the committees broader) the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program might have generated local projects in areas like drug rehabilitation, homelessness, employment, respite care, juvenile offenders’ programs, teachers’ assistance, and aged care, as well as programs directed at veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder or the effects of Agent Orange. There might even have been some utilitarian buildings built. The designation of such projects as “Anzac Centenary” would have added the necessary commemorative element.

The Program was slow to get under way, with the original application period extended. How is it faring now? In his September media release, the Minister said more than 1700 applications had been received. At that time, he made the application process virtually open-ended.

If most of the remaining 1100 or more applications are approved and if the remaining approved applications have roughly the same average value as those approved to date and if all the projects go ahead, there should be no difficulty in spending the allocated $18.75 million. The Minister’s latest release notes that the allocation per electorate is ‘up to $125 000’ and it has always been possible under the Program guidelines to move money between electorates. Any possible political embarrassment from a national underspend can thus be avoided; any underspend in an individual electorate will reflect only on the local member’s interest in the Program and his or her ability to encourage applications from relevant groups.

Honest History will continue to monitor the ACGLP as our resources permit. As always, we will print unaltered any comment the Department or the Minister cares to make.

9 November 2014

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