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First look at Afghanistan Victoria Cross memorial plans

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The site for the proposed memorial is at Valour Park in Watson, adjacent to the Federal Highway, and would form part of the Remembrance Driveway. The Remembrance Driveway is a route between the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Macquarie Place in Sydney which is dotted with various memorials to Australian servicemen and servicewomen. The Remembrance Driveway Council has commissioned the memorial, with plans designed by Moir Landscape Architecture.The concept for the memorial “aims to build on the symbolism depicted in the Victoria Cross for Australia medal, including the laurel wreath and crown”, according to the plans. The current application, listed by Planning ACT, has cited total costs of the works to be at $392,000 however the Remembrance Driveway Council is aiming to raise a total of $500,000 for the project. Remembrance Driveway Council president Mick Burgess said some funds had been raised for the project but the majority of the funds for the project came from previous donations to the council.“Once the development application has been approved and final costs are known, we intend to launch an appeal to complete the project which is expected to cost around $500,000,” he said. “We will be seeking support from the community, veteran organisations and the corporate sector.”A statement from the Remembrance Driveway Council said it decided it was appropriate to create memorials and rest stops dedicated to Victoria Cross recipients who are still alive.The Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest military honour, which replaced the British or Imperial Victorian Cross in 1991.Four people have been awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for their service in the Afghanistan conflict; Corporal Mark Donaldson, Corporal Roberts-Smith, Corporal Daniel Keighran, and Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird. Corporal Cameron Baird was the first recipient of the Victoria Cross to receive the award posthumously.Mr Roberts-Smith is currently involved in defamation action against The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times which published stories, starting in June 2018, that he alleges accused him of war crimes including murder during deployments in Afghanistan, and an act of domestic violence against a woman in Canberra. He denies all wrongdoing.The development application is open for public comment via the Planning ACT website until January 28.



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