COVID-19 disrupted many of our plans in 2020, but one of the saddest losses for me was the cancellation of my Sunshine Coast veterans day. However, I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the generosity of the Irwin family and Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast veterans day is back on this year, on Thursday 18 November. This has been a tough time for a lot of us, but for many veterans it has been particularly isolating. Many are looking for the opportunity to reconnect with their mates, who understand their experiences, and Sunshine Coast veterans day is designed to give them that chance.
On 18 November, entry to Australia Zoo will be free for veterans, plus one guest each, on presentation of a veteran lapel pin, or white or gold veteran card. I will be there along with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, meeting local former ADF members, to share the day and to hear about their experiences over the past two years. I want to thank the minister for being willing to join us and local veterans, the Irwin family for partnering with me on this initiative and Robert Irwin in particular for coming along to the launch. I also want to thank Peter Kennedy of Sunshine Coast Young Veterans and all of the local RSLs in Fisher for helping to promote this very, very important event.