Vets upset by missing names

NO SALUTE: Nelson Bay RSL sub-branch secretary Tony Minchin. Picture: Stephen Wark
NO SALUTE: Nelson Bay RSL sub-branch secretary Tony Minchin. Picture: Stephen Wark

A NEW war memorial should have been cause for celebration for Nelson Bay veterans, but a decision by the Port Stephens Council not to update names listed on the Apex Park monument has left many with bitter tastes in their mouths.

At the end of October the council announced the $240,000 relocation and upgrade of the memorial would be completed in time for Remembrance Day.

At the time the council's community and recreation co-ordinator, Brendan Callendar, told the Examiner staff had worked hard on getting the project ready.

However, not everyone is happy with the job the council has done.

Nelson Bay Returned and Services League sub-branch secretary Tony Minchin said he spent the past few months gathering names of "about two dozen or a bit less" returned servicemen and women who served in recent conflicts like Afghanistan and East Timor.

He said the council was "not saluting locals" by failing to provide the update.

"The names are entitled to go on, we were guaranteed the funds the council got from Saluting Their Service would be made available to carry out the work," he said.

"We sent the names over to the stone masons and they sent back the quote [which was] $3800."

However, Mr Callendar said council was not responsible for names on memorials - the work on updating the list was never part of the planned works.

"Port Stephens Council received grant funding from the Saluting Their Service grant for the relocation of the National Service and Combined Forces Association of Australia memorial," Mr Callendar said.

"This monument is not the monument that the Nelson Bay RSL are wishing to have names replaced on.

"The NSCFAA monument has been relocated and upgraded as part of this project which fulfils council's obligations under the agreed terms of the grant."

Saluting Their Service, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, supports commemorative activities relating to contributions of the Australian military.

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