Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland, along with her Nationals’ colleagues across regional Victoria have successfully advocated for the return of the Victorian Community History Awards and Local History Grants Program.
The recent announcement is music to the ears of local Historical Societies, with many of the organisations reaching out to Ms Cleeland after future funding for their programs seemed in doubt.
“Historical societies are an essential part of our regional communities,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The volunteer-led organisations keep detailed archives of their region, maintaining extensive collections of local artefacts and information.
“The funding allocation was critical to the ongoing growth and digitisation of the State’s archives and supported countless community volunteer historical societies, who contribute thousands of hours for the benefit of their local towns.”
The Local History Grants Program has been running for 21 years and supports community organisations with grants of up to $15,000 for projects that preserve and share the materials and memories that make up Victoria’s history.
Meanwhile, the Community History Awards supports historians, authors, creators, printers and designers and encourages deep investigation and inquiry, as well as truth telling.
“It’s important to consider what we stand to lose without ongoing financial support for these historical groups,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We simply can’t afford not to invest in our past.”
A successful petition tabled by Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull and supported by fellow Nationals MPs was a major driving force in encouraging the Andrew Labor Government to backflip on their proposed funding cuts.
The Minister responsible for the planned funding cuts to the program, Danny Pearson, was quick to backtrack in a recent speech, saying he now realised how “important it is to preserve our past and celebrate our history”.
The Victorian Community History Awards are run by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. A call for entries for the 2023 awards will be made soon.