Soldier On Speech

Last Friday I joined the Prime Minister, the defence minister, assistant defence ministers, the shadow assistant defence minister—my colleague David Feeney—the British high commissioner and a range of Canberrans, as well as people from all over Australia, for the official launch of a new annex of Soldier On's Robert Poate Reintegration and Recovery Centre in Crace.

Soldier On has gone from very humble beginnings: from supporting 200 wounded soldiers a year to now providing a range of services to 500 wounded warriors a month thanks to the vision of John and Danielle Bale, and the financial and in-kind support of small and large businesses and organisations and thousands of Australians, including thousands of Canberrans. From those very humble beginnings Soldier On now has centres across the nation.

It was a privilege to be at the launch of the new annex of the Robert Poate Reintegration and Recovery Centre. The recovery centre is named after Canberran Private Robert Poate, who was killed on tour in Afghanistan in 2012. According to Janny and Hugh Poate—it was wonderful to see them at the launch—it is a great honour that the centre, which provides a critically important service to the wounded soldiers, is named for their son. I congratulate and thank Soldier On for their extraordinary work.

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