Australia Zoo and Sunshine Coast MP to help Sunshine Coast Veterans reconnect after a tough year

Former ADF personnel on the Sunshine Coast will have the opportunity to come together with their mates for a free visit to one of the Coast’s most loved tourist attractions next month and give their feedback direct to the Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs thanks to a collaboration between Andrew Wallace MP and Australia Zoo.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that after what has been a difficult year for many veterans, the 2021 Sunshine Coast Veterans Day at Australia Zoo will be a great opportunity for mates to reconnect.

“The social isolation brought about by COVID-19 has been tough for all Australians, but it has been particularly hard on many local veterans who have friends and family spread all over the country. With the added impact on many of recent events in Afghanistan I know that there are many veterans in our community who will welcome the chance to catch up with their mates and relax during a day out at the Zoo.” Mr Wallace said.

Entry to Australia Zoo will be free for veterans, plus one guest each, on Thursday 18 November 2021. This year the Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs Andrew Gee will join local service men and women in touring the Zoo on the day. 

“With up to 15,000 former serving men and women in our region, ours is one of the largest veterans’ communities in Australia and it is critical that their voices are heard in the national debate. I have advocated strongly on their behalf in Canberra, but there is no substitute for giving veterans the opportunity to speak for themselves. I am looking forward to the chance to introduce the Minister to many more of our former service men and women on the day.” 

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said he was looking forward to joining veterans and their families at Australia Zoo.

“The opportunity to meet our ADF personnel and veterans, listen to their stories, and learn from the people who have served our nation is one of the greatest honours of my role,” Minister Gee said.

“I want to thank Australia Zoo for giving the local veteran community the chance to get together and enjoy a great day out.”

“It’s really important to take the time to catch up with mates and a day at Australia Zoo offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to Australia Zoo, and to Andrew Wallace for his ongoing advocacy for veterans.”

Australia Zoo is one of the country’s best known wildlife attractions, with more than 1,200 animals and a wide variety of exhibits and experiences to enjoy. 

Bill Ferguson from Australia Zoo said it was always a pleasure for the zoo to be able to give back to our local veterans.

“They’ve played an important role in the life we all live today and Australia Zoo has had a long history of supporting our veterans and their spouses. We encourage all veterans to come along to the Zoo on November 18th with their proof of service for a fun day out at the best conservation destination in the entire world!” said Bill.

Veterans will simply have to show their Veteran Lapel Pin, White or Gold Veteran Card, or other proof of service to get free all day entry to the Zoo. Veterans who do not have proof of service are encouraged to contact their local RSL sub-branch or the office of Andrew Wallace.

Mr Wallace said that Australia Zoo’s on-going involvement in Sunshine Coast Veterans Day was another great example of the leadership they show in our community.

“This has been a difficult year for all tourism businesses on the Sunshine Coast and I want to say a special thank you to Australia Zoo for stepping up yet again and giving something back to our community. I know the Zoo are always keen to show their appreciation for our serving men and women, so if you are a local veteran I strongly encourage you to come along and get involved in this years Sunshine Coast Veterans Day!” he said.

For more information, contact the Office of Andrew Wallace MP on 07 5493 5556 or andrew.wallace.mp@aph.gov.au.

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