A barbecue was held at the Bowraville Ex-Services Club last Thursday (14th) to acknowledge the hard work done by RSL Sub Branches across the region over the WW1 centenary period.
Hosted by Member for Oxley and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in the NSW Government, Melinda Pavey, also attending the barbecue was David Elliott MP, Minister for Counter Terrorism, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Veterans Affairs.
Melinda spoke of the warmth and generosity she had experienced among the veterans of her electorate since taking office and expressed her gratitude. She welcomed her colleague David Elliott to the Oxley Electorate and the Mid North Coast and invited him to address the group.
David, a former army officer, spoke of his operational service as a part of the Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville Island in 2000. David went on to speak to the group about the finished works on the Shrine at Hyde Park, Sydney, something that has been 80 years in the making.
He thanked those from this district who were involved in the collecting of soil samples now on display in the Shrine Memorial to represent the 1,701 towns, villages and hamlets in NSW that had sent troops off to the Great War. The Shrine was officially opened by Prince Harry in October 2018.
David Elliott detailed the incredible success of the NSW Governments Veterans Employment Program. Four years ago the Premier tasked David with finding 200 jobs in the NSW Public Service for veterans. There are around 1,500 veterans separating from the Australian Defence Force each year in NSW.
David’s department, with the help of his parliamentary colleagues, far exceed the target set by the Premier and found jobs for 863 veterans. David went on to speak about State Government initiatives put in place in an effort to address the mental health issues faced by young veterans such as ‘no cost’ TAFE courses for veterans with qualifying service.
David Elliott’s words were well received by the group and, being a veteran himself, he was listened to intently by the gathering. He wished Sub Branch members well regarding the decisions they will make at the next RSL State Congress in May.
On behalf of the those in attendance the president of the Bowraville RSL Sub Branch, Mr Jim Cameron OAM, thanked Melinda Pavey and David Elliott for coming to Bowraville.
Melinda reinforced her appreciation for the hard work done by Sub Branches in the electorate and David added this district has some of the more active Sub Branches in the State when it came to Centenary Commemorations.
More from Mick Birtles: