The Coalition Government will convert the records of Australia’s Second World War servicemen and women into digital files as part of a new program focused on recognising the service of our veterans.

The digital records will make them easier to access so Australians can discover the as yet untold stories of their relatives and how they defended our nation during times of war.

Around 80 per cent of our 1,062,000 WWII service records are yet to be digitised through the National Archives of Australia.

Next year marks the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII and we want to ensure Australians can remember and understand the service and sacrifice of those who came before us.

The digitised records will be freely available to all Australians wherever they live and will provide a comprehensive source of information for students, journalists, authors, academics, and families interested in knowing about the service of our Defence Forces.

This initiative will build on the Howard Government’s “Gift to the Nation”, which saw the full digitisation of the First World War service records.

The Morrison Government will also expand the well-known Saluting Their Service grants program by delivering an extra $10 million so local communities can honour the service and sacrifice of our veterans, with a particular focus on commemorating the Second World War and beyond. We will also increase the maximum amount available for community grants from $4,000 to $10,000 to ensure local communities can commemorate this important anniversary appropriately.

Remembering our veterans’ service doesn’t just happen in Australia so we will invest up to $10 million to work with the Government of Papua New Guinea and local landowners on projects to commemorate the bonds between Australia and PNG from the Second World War, particularly around the Kokoda Track.

We will rollout the second stage of the successful ANZAC 360 app with $154,000. It will focus on key Second World War battles and campaigns in South East Asia, using virtual reality and 360 degree drone technology and we will undertake scoping studies to develop a new interpretive facility near the Bomona Commonwealth War Cemetery in Port Moresby and to replace aging facilities at Sandakan Memorial Park in Malaysia.

Of those on active service in WWII, more than 27,000 were killed in action or died; over 23,000 were wounded and over 30,000 were taken prisoner of war. This is an important milestone for millions of Australians whose ancestors served their nation bravely during this conflict.

The Coalition will continue to put veterans and their families first.