Thanks, but no tanks for Lismore
MOVES to bring a decommissioned Australian Army Leopard tank to Lismore look unlikely to succeed following last month's allocation of 29 tanks to RSL sub-branches around the country.
Following interest at the Lismore RSL Sub-branch's last meeting, honorary secretary Wilson McClelland wrote to Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin inquiring about the availability of surplus tanks.
Ms Saffin passed the inquiry on to the Defence Department.
The Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, Greg Combet, who is responsible for the release of thedecommissioned tanks, said the sel-ection of RSL groups lucky enough to receive the tanks was made by the previous Federal Government.
He said the Rudd Government was pleased to honour that pledge and pay for the transportation costs, which were estimated at about $22,000 per tank.
“The Government is happy to hand over these proud pieces of Australia's military history to the communities who put their hands up to receive one,” Mr Combet said.
Mr McClelland said the sub-branch did not have the funds required to house and maintain one of the monster machines, which weigh in at 62 tonnes and measure 10 metres long, nearly four metres wide and three metres high.
“It would just be too big to put down at the Cenotaph and we would need funding from the council or the Government to make it happen,” he said. “At a glance Ms Saffin said it was a top idea, and (mayor) Jenny Dowell liked it too, but at three metres high we couldn't leave it outside because kids could fall off it, so we'd have to at least house it somewhere.”
The Leopard tank entered service with the Australian army in 1977 and had been central to Australia's armoured warfare capability.
It was superseded by the American-built Abrams tank in 2007.