FUNDING BOOST FOR SUNSHINE COAST VETERANS

A HUGE injection of new funds to the Maroochydore RSL will help the organisation continue its charitable role in the community.

Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said the additional $81,616 brought the Federal Government’s contribution for the Eternal Flame project to more than $119,000.

Mr O’Brien said he went after the additional funding, in part, to support the RSL with its program assisting local community groups.

“Building the Eternal Flame to mark the centenary of the Armistice took a huge chunk out of the RSL’s bottom line but this additional funding of $81,616  will help cover those costs and that means surplus funds can go back into supporting local schools or community groups,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It is very hard for community organisations to stump up the funds for big projects like the Eternal Flame so after the Federal Government’s initial grant of $37,429, I am pleased to announce this second grant which is more than double the first. The total federal contribution now stands at $119,045.

“It’s also important that we recognise Maroochy RSL for its passion and foresight to build such a meaningful commemoration for the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said the Eternal Flame at the Cotton Tree Park Cenotaph was unique in Australia as it was believed to be the only one outdoors that operated on LED lights.

“I am told it is the most environmentally friendly Eternal Flame in the country as most other versions use gas to keep the light burning.

“We are very fortunate to have this on the Sunshine Coast because there are only a few Eternal Flames in Australia.”

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said the extra funding allowed the sub-branch to build the flame at minimal cost to the organisation.

“The funding from the Australian Government for the construction of the Eternal Flame Memorial is a great example of the projects local communities have developed to commemorate the centenary of the First World War Armistice,” Mr Chester said. 

“Projects like this create a lasting legacy for those in the community and they help educate the younger generation of Australians of the service and sacrifice of those who served.”

Maroochy RSL president Michael Liddelow thanked the Federal Government for the generous grant.

“The funds will go back into our donations to the community and to veterans,” Mr Liddelow said.

“Every month we get requests from all sorts of organisations like schools, sporting bodies and local groups for things like bursaries and awards.

“We also help cover veteran-related activities such as outings or Diggers’ retreats. Last year we donated more than $1million to the community and when you look at what we support it is very diverse.”

The Eternal Flame was a joint funding project with Mr O’Brien on behalf of the Federal Government contributing $119,045; Sunshine Coast Council $65,000; Queensland RSL $50,000; State Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson donated $2,500 and the Maroochy RSL making up the remainder.