Having tabled a petition in State Parliament recently calling on the Andrews Labor Government to reverse its cuts to the Victorian Community History Awards and Local History Grants Program, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, is pleased the Government last week backflipped on its decision and reinstated the support.
“Shortly after this decision was made, I was contacted by a number of local history groups who were outraged. On top of asking the Minister to reverse these cuts, a petition was established.
“It was a funding stream that supported volunteers undertaking important community work and it was just craziness from the Government to cut it.
“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 to build and maintain community-based archives.
On presenting the petition to Parliament, Mr Bull acknowledged that Victorian history receives so little in the way of funding or recognition of those who contribute to its collection.
“The Local History Grants Program ensured the work of over 350 volunteer driven heritage organisations continues to develop and contribute to the ongoing research in telling the stories of the past.
“The digitisation of the timeworn records is a huge focus for local historical societies and family history groups, as age and environment threaten the longevity of these important collections which often include photographs.
“It is a small price to pay for thousands of hours of volunteer work that benefits the collective memory.
“The Community History Awards support historians, authors, creators, printers and designers and these awards encourage 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. We simply can’t afford not to invest in our past.”
Mr Bull said the Minister responsible, Danny Pearson, has gone from overseeing the funding cuts to now saying in his backflip speech how “important it is to preserve our past and celebrate our history”.
“Talk about a 180-degree change of attitude,” Mr Bull said.
Monday, 11 September 2023