Volunteers ‘in the dark’ about RAAF Centre plans

VOLUNTEERS who want to donate their time at the Wagga RAAF Heritage Centre at Forest Hill say they are being left in the dark over how plans to reopen the centre are progressing. There is still no official date for a grand reopening that was promised to volunteers and the Wagga community in December 2008 when Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support Dr Mike Kelly visited the city to announced funding for the project.Dr Kelly’s visit was prompted by community outrage when by The Daily Advertiser revealed the Australian Defence Force did not intend to reopen the centre after it was closed for “refurbishments” in 2001.A lengthy campaign, headed by Wagga AirCare, convinced the Department of Defence the city’s passion for its military heritage was worth preserving and the centre should reopen.But as volunteers prepare to graduate from TAFE next week from studies to prepare them to work at the centre, frustration is mounting at the lack of communication.“People volunteered and did the course and some are back doing another one. Everyone wants to know what’s happening. There’s been no communication,” said a volunteer, who did not wish to be named.Chair of the heritage management committee Karen Wood-Meyer said she is confident of a spring opening.“There is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes. There is a study tour going to Point Cook museum next week to view artefacts,” she said.The Department of Defence responded with a statement: “The RAAF Wagga Heritage Centre is on track to be formally opened in spring 2010 ... a date is expected to be announced shortly.”