Commemorating ANZAC Day 2021

FOR what they have done this we will do — the simple reason all Australians must ensure the legacy of commemoration continues this Anzac Day.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said ANZAC Day was one of the most sacred day of commemoration on the Australian calendar.

“It is a time for us to remember the service and sacrifice of all Australian service personnel who have served our nation for over a century,” Mr Vasta said.

“My electorate of Bonner has a proud history of military service and Anzac Day is an opportunity for us to pay our respects and show our gratitude for the service and sacrifice of all those who have served and provided us with the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Last year, with the challenges of the coronavirus, we found new and creative ways to honour those who serve and have served — driveway vigils at dawn, private floral tributes, and contacting current and former defence personnel to check in and thank them for their service.

“This year, I encourage everyone to attend a local service if possible and show your respect for those who have served, subject to local health advice,” Mr Vasta said.

“At its heart, Anzac Day is a time for personal reflection, and there are a number of ways we can commemorate.

“I have updated my website with a list of Bonner services, as well as information on how you can stream the Australian War Memorial’s Dawn Service.

“I have also shared ways you can commemorate this important date at home, and can download a poppy to display in your home or shop window.

“However you choose to commemorate the day, please do so in a respectful and safe way, ensuring our veterans, current Australian Defence Force members, their families and the thousands of descendants of our veterans know that we value the contribution of those who have served our country.”

For more information on local services, visit

While the coronavirus pandemic still affects how we do things, there are ways Australians can mark Anzac Day, including:

  • Attending a local community dawn or commemorative service (pending the latest health advice).
  • Tuning in to the ABC to Watch the Dawn Service and National Ceremony live from the Australian War Memorial.
  • Leaving a poppy and personalised Anzac Day message on the Virtual Poppy Wall at alongside thousands of other Australians.
  • Taking part in the RSL’s ‘Light up the Dawn’ campaign, which may include standing at the end of your driveway at dawn.
  • Exploring the Australian War Memorial’s Anzac At Home content online for videos, activities and recipes at
  • Taking a photo of the local war memorial or honour board and upload it to Places of Pride at to help build the national register of Australian war memorials.
  • Taking part in their own private commemorations in a respectful, solemn and dignified way.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has also released a digital ‘kitbag’, which has a range of practical resources to help people mark Anzac Day — from families, local community groups right through to someone wanting to hold their own private commemoration.

“The kitbag is free and includes posters, sample speeches, orders of service, supporting music, crafts cards on how to make Anzac biscuits, poppies or a wreath and a range of supporting social media assets, including social media banner images,” Mr Vasta said.

“With many options available to commemorate this Anzac Day, as a nation we can all proudly carry on the legacy of acknowledging service and sacrifice on Anzac Day in 2021.”

Visit to view the Anzac Day kitbag.

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Grants open for ex-service organisations

EX-SERVICE organisations (ESOs) who help veterans and their families are invited to apply for the 2021 Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program which is now open.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said ESOs across the country delivered extensive services to veterans and their families including leisure activities, transition support, assisting with claims, rehabilitation and wellbeing programs and hosting many commemorative events and activities.

“I encourage ESOs in Bonner to apply as the services they provide are highly valued by the ex-service community,” Mr Vasta said.

“BEST grants help ESOs provide vital advocacy services for current and former serving men and women, helping with their compensation claims and ensuring they get access to their entitlements and services.

“The services provided by ESOs can help veterans and their families access local support and resources, empowering them to improve their health and wellbeing, stay well, age well and engage in a full life.”

Applications for the grants are now open online, with advocacy service providers encouraged to submit their application before the closing date of 14 April 2021.

“A BEST grant can help contribute towards paying the salary costs of administrative assistants and advocates, and any equipment they might need to deliver their services,” Mr Vasta said.

“I encourage all ESOs that provide advocacy services to apply for a BEST grant.”

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers a range of grant programs to assist with providing support to veterans and their families.

To apply for a grant or for further information on BEST grants visit the Community Grants Hub website

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Applications open for Veteran and Community grants

Grants for projects supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families are now available, with the latest round of Veteran and Community Grants (V&CG) program now open.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the health and wellbeing of the veteran community was an ongoing priority for the Federal Government and the V&CG program was a way of supporting ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community organisations in providing local solutions.

“Veteran and Community Grants are for activities and services that improve the health and wellbeing of members of the veteran community,” Mr Vasta said.

“Grants can provide seed funding for projects that promote a healthy lifestyle, help veterans to remain living independently in their own homes, reduce social isolation, support carers and improve access to community services.

“Our local ESOs know best what will benefit veterans and their families and these grants will provide opportunities to community organisations to extend the important support they provide to veterans and their families.”

ESOs and community organisation partners are invited to apply for grants of up to $20,000 for local, community-based projects and activities.

A small number of large grants of up to $150,000 are available for projects that deliver wellbeing support services and activities of broad-scale benefit to the veteran community.

The 2020-21 grant round is now open online and follows the successful Veterans’ Health Week where social connection amidst the coronavirus pandemic was the theme and key focus of events.

“2020 has been a tough year for so many, and this year maintaining social connections has been more important than ever when it comes to our mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Vasta said.

“I encourage any local ESO or community organisation with ideas for practical projects and activities that support safe environments for veterans and their families to connect and engage to consider making an application.”

Grant applications will close 29 January 2021.

For information about how to apply see the Community Grants Hub website:

Assistance with grant application queries is also available by phone: 1800 020 283 or by email:

To receive an email alert when veteran and other community grants are open for applications on the Hub, visit

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Bonner community reflects on Remembrance Day

The Bonner community will stand in silent reflection and remembrance of the sacrifice of our fallen man and women who gave their lives in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations this Remembrance Day.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said for more than a century Australians had paused at 11am on 11 November to acknowledge our fallen service men and women.

“Remembrance Day is one of the most important days of our year as it represents a time where Australians can stand together with our service personnel and veterans to remember those who have lost their lives in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping,” Mr Vasta said.

“Originally known as Armistice Day, this day was in commemoration of the moment the guns of the Western Front fell silent on 11 November 1918 at 11 am.

“Just over 20 years later, Australia joined the Second World War, during which more than 39,000 Australians gave their lives. It was after the wars ended that 11 November became known as Remembrance Day.”

Tragically, over a century of service in wars, conflicts or peacekeeping operations, more than 102,000 Australian men and women have now made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

This Remembrance Day wear a red poppy to show they will never be forgotten.

Mr Vasta said on Remembrance Day we remember all our fallen service personnel and the sacrifices they have made, including the many locals who have served.

“It is incredibly important to continue the tradition of pausing in remembrance and respect of our fallen defence personnel, now and into the future,” Mr Vasta said.

“I encourage all members of the Bonner community to mark this day in a solemn and dignified manner by partaking in the minutes silence, or attending one of the local services.”

Remembrance Day Services in Bonner include:

Bayside National Servicemen’s Association7am – Darling Point Memorial, Manly.  

Holland Park/ Mt Gravatt RSL sub-branch 10.15am – Memorial Hall – 58 Arnold St, Holland Park

Wynnum RSL sub-branch10.30am – Pandanus Room of Wynnum RSL – 174 Tingal Rd, Wynnum

Manly Lota RSL sub-branch10.30am – Richard Russell Park, Manly 

This Remembrance Day, wear a red poppy in remembrance of our fallen.Along with the red poppy, the veteran community are encouraged to wear their Veteran Lapel Pin or Reservist Lapel Pin, provided as part of the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, as a way to readily identify service to our nation through the defence force.

Australians are encouraged to share their personal commemorations on social media by using the #RemembranceDay. For more information about Remembrance Day, visit the Anzac Portal.

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Stay connected at local events during Veterans’ Health Week

VETERANS and their families in Bonner can get socially connected this Veterans’ Health Week, with local events running from Saturday, October 24 to Sunday, November 1 2020.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said almost 400 events across Australia would be run by ex-service organisations and other local veterans’ groups, both in person and virtually, to support their veteran community with creative social activities within their local restrictions.

“There’s a number of local happening in Brisbane and surrounding regions and I encourage our local veteran community to join in and help raise awareness of staying socially connected,” Mr Vasta said.

“Practicing social connection, not just in Veterans’ Health Week, is a great way to embed healthy habits into our weekly routines to help improve our overall mental health and wellbeing.

“Manly-Lota RSL sub-branch will be hosting a BBQ meet and greet this Sunday from 10am-3pm and it’s open to all veterans and their families.

“I commend all of the ex-service organisations and other veteran groups in our community who have organised events for Veterans’ Health Week this year.”

Veterans’ Health Week events being hosted around Australia over the next couple of weeks include physical activity challenges, mental health activities, workshops, skill building opportunities, a record number of online virtual events and lots of chances to make new connections and renew old ones.

For more information on attending a Veterans’ Health Week event, visit the Veterans’ Health Week page on the DVA website.

You can also call 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) or email

Attendees and event organisers must be aware of local state or territory coronavirus restrictions in place and ensure their event is following all coronavirus guidelines.

A full list of events in  can be found on the DVA website.

Manly-Lota RSL sub-branch is located at 184 Melville Tce, Manly

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Honouring those who served in the Vietnam War

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP joined members and veterans of the Manly-Lota RSL Sub-Branch for the annual Vietnam Veterans Day Service to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Mr Vasta said today was about reflecting on the service and sacrifice of those who served during one of the longest military engagement of the 20th Century, the Vietnam War.

“Across two decades between 1962 and 1975, almost 60,000 Australians served during the Vietnam War, sometimes fighting in extreme conditions, often with poor visibility,” Mr Vasta said.

“Each year on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, Australia remembers all those who served in the Vietnam War, including the more than 500 Australians who lost their lives.”Mr Vasta said the service was a private occasion with invited guests only to keep in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

“However, while the wider community could not be part of it, I know they were with us in spirit,” Mr Vasta said.

“Even with our younger generation with the bugle player Lewis Campbell joining us from Moreton Bay Boy’s College to deliver The Last Post.”

Mr Vasta said the Battle of Long Tan on the 18th of August 1966, was one of the fiercest battles fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War, and saw 18 Australians killed and 25 wounded.

“Today we also acknowledge and honour the Vietnam veterans who have lost their lives in the years since they returned and those who still carry the physical and emotional scars of their service and the families that have supported them.”

The Australian War Memorial will hold a Last Post Ceremony at 4:55pm AEST today, 18 August 2020, to commemorate Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

To find out more about Vietnam Veterans’ Day, the Vietnam War and the Battle of Long Tan, please visit the Anzac Portal website.

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Commemorative medallion’s for Bonner’s WWII Veterans

A special commemorative medallion marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on August 15 is now available to every living Second World War veteran to say ‘thank you for your service’.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said his electorate had a rich Second World War history and he was proud to support veterans from this remarkable generation.

“While more than one million Australian men and women fought during the Second World War campaigns, incredibly around 12,000 veterans who served are still with us today,” Mr Vasta said.

“These brave Australians served our nation in the far corners of the world, fighting in theatres of war from Europe to North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to Asia and the Pacific, with the conflict also reaching Australian shores,” Mr Vasta said.

“Australia can never fully repay the debt we owe these amazing men and women but, to mark their service, the Federal Government is producing this Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration for the remaining living Second World War veterans.

“I encourage all veterans, or their family members on their behalf, to apply to receive a medallion and certificate as a special thank you from a grateful nation for all they have done.”

Second World War veterans, or their families on their behalf, can apply online at or, for those without internet access, by phone on 02 61918217 during business hours.

The Commemorative Medallions and Certificates will be distributed during August.

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Manly Lota RSL awarded BEST Grant

Manly-Lota RSL Sub-branch has received a $23,000 Building Excellence in Support Training (BEST) grant to help provide advocacy services to veterans and their families in the Bonner community.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the local RSL was one of 164 recipients across Australia to benefit from this grant program.

“Ex-Service Organisations and veteran groups play a crucial role in supporting the health and welfare of the veteran community,” Mr Vasta said.

“The BEST grants program provides these groups with an opportunity to expand on their services to further support veterans and their families.

“I’d like to congratulate the team at Manly-Lota RSL Sub-Branch who continually support veterans and their families to access the assistance and services they need, and I encourage veterans in our community to reach out to them.”

The BEST grants program funds a range of essential support measures from Ex Service Organisations (ESOs), advocates and welfare practitioners who continue to provide advice and assistance to the veteran and defence community. This round of BEST saw $4.2 million provided nationally to support organisations.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said staying connected with local ESOs and other veteran groups providing advocacy services was vital to ensure our veteran community received the support they needed.

“These organisations complement the support provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and show just how deeply the community is committed to putting veterans and their families first,” Minister Chester said.

“At this time more than ever, advocacy services through ESOs can help our veterans and their families with their claims, entitlements and other services.”

For more information on BEST grants visit the grants page on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at

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Nominations open for 2020 Veterans’ Employment Awards

Local businesses can now nominate for the 2020 Prime Minister Veterans’ Employment Awards which highlights the contributions made by veterans in the civilian workforce and the businesses that support them.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the awards were a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate businesses of all sizes who employ or support veterans of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“This is a chance to be recognised as an industry leader in supporting veteran employment by nominating for these prestigious Awards,” Mr Vasta said.

Every year over 5,500 people leave the Australian Defence Force, and the Government’s aim is to ensure every person is able to transition into civilian life in towns across Australia effectively and find meaningful employment by business that support them.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the awards, now in the third year, were an opportunity to recognise and celebrate veterans, their entrepreneurial nature, and businesses from across Australia who employs ADF veterans and their families.

“We invest heavily in training our ADF personnel, providing them with qualities and capabilities that are valued by civilian employers — leadership, teamwork, and a strong sense of mission and purpose are all qualities employers can expect,” Mr Chester said.

“The extensive range of skills, abilities, behaviours and attributes veterans gain makes them an asset to any workplace.”

Information on the awards can be found on the new Veterans’ Employment website.

Nominations for the awards are now open online and will close on October 22, 2019 with finalists announced in early 2020.

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Nutrition will be the theme for this year’s Veterans’ Health Week, with funding for applications to support events highlighting the week now open for Ex-Service organisations (ESOs) and community groups.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta said Veterans’ Health Week in September was a fantastic opportunity for Ex-Service organisations and community groups to positively engage with veterans in their communities and promote the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.

“This year’s Veterans’ Health Week will highlight the importance of improving and maintaining good nutritional health. I encourage everyone to get behind Veterans’ Health Week events to make it a great success,” Mr Vasta said.

“Our local ex-service organisations and community groups provide fantastic ongoing support, engagement and information to the veteran and ex-service community. We recognise their efforts and commend their ongoing contributions to our community.” 

Veterans’ Health Week focuses on providing ongoing support, engagement and information to the veteran and ex-service communities in a positive and enjoyable environment. 

“Any ESO or community group with a link to the broader veteran community is eligible to apply and are encouraged to partner with other organisations that promote healthy, active and engaged lifestyles,” Mr Vasta said. 

“Think outside the square and get creative. Activities like cooking and sharing a meal is also a great way to learn new skills, meet people, share recipes and try fresh and healthy food options.”

Veterans’ Health Week will run from Saturday 22 September to Sunday 30 September 2018. Applications for funding close on 29 June 2018.

The Veterans’ Health Week funding application form, resource guide and other documentation to assist event organisers are now available on the DVA website:

Interested parties are also welcome to contact DVA on 1800 555 254 for further information.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

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