Catherine King, Federal Member for Ballarat, has today called on the Government to commit to securing the future of the Prime Ministers’ Avenue in Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
Unique in Australia, this 80-year old sculpture garden features busts of each of Australia’s first 27 Prime Ministers. Unfortunately however, a lack of funding has put future additions to the collection at risk.
The first 26 sculptures along the avenue were funded through an initial bequest, made in the 1930s. These funds were exhausted following the completion of the bust of the Julia Gillard, with the City of Ballarat forced to fund the bust of the Tony Abbott from its own funds.
With the cost of each bust ranging from $45,000 to $65,000, there is currently no funding available to create busts of either Malcolm Turnbull or the current Prime Minister.
“Ballarat is proud to host the only sculpture garden dedicated to Australia’s political leaders”, Ms King said.
“What we have is wonderful, but more money is needed to ensure that it remains relevant into the future”.
“This collection holds national significance – it tells our nation’s story and pays tribute to all who have held our highest office”.
“It isn’t good enough to abandon this history now – the Avenue deserves the funding it needs to continue to tell our story into the future”.
“The City of Ballarat has been good enough to contribute funds for the latest statues and for upkeep, but this is a monument to national leaders and the national government should contribute the funds necessary to ensure the Avenue remains relevant into the future.”
“This fight for funding has gone on for too long. It is time for the Government to commit to ensuring that Prime Ministers’ Avenue can continue to tell our nation’s political history in perpetuity.”