Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester put out a statement today refuting media suggestions that travel entitlements for Victoria Cross recipients were about to be axed.
FILE PHOTO (August 2015): Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove with all four living Australian Victoria Cross recipients (from right), Keith Payne VC, Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, Corporal Daniel Keighran VC and Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, plus the then Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, on a visit to Australian troops in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo courtesy Governor General’s official web site.
“The government has no plans to change the travel entitlements of Australia’s four living Victoria Cross recipients,” Mr Chester said.
“There is a long-standing entitlement for VC recipients to undertake travel associated with commemorative and other events, and that will continue in the future.”
Australia has four living VC recipients – Keith Payne VC, Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG and Corporal Dan Keighran VC.
Their attendance at numerous events and activities across Australia and the world is much sought after.
WO2 Keith Payne is our oldest living VC recipient – awarded the military’s highest honour ‘for valour’ for his actions in saving 40 wounded soldiers during a battle with North Vietnamese forces in May 1969 as a member of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.
Corporal Mark Donaldson, SASR, was the first Victoria Cross for Australia recipient and the first VC recipient in 40 years, cited for most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril in Afghanistan in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan on 2 September 2008.
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith was the second Australian and the second member of the Special Air Service Regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia, for his actions as a patrol sniper under heavy fire in a precarious position, threatened by a numerically superior force, on 2 June 2006.
Corporal Dan Keighran, 6RAR, was the third Victoria Cross for Australia recipient and the first soldier from the Royal Australian Regiment to be awarded a Victoria Cross, for repeatedly exposing himself to intense enemy fire, to aid in identification and suppression of enemy firing positions and aid the withdrawal of a combined Australian and Afghan patrol.
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