The Bendigo and District RSL has applied to the federal government for funding to redevelop its memorial hall in Pall Mall.
The federal government established a $140 million fund, the Anzac Centenary program, which includes a local grants program.
Bendigo District RSL secretary Paul Penno said the organisation would approach both state and federal governments and hoped to secure $5 million.
He said City of Greater Bendigo and the RSL had already put forward $30,000 to establish a conservation management plan, business plan and concept drawing.
“The first thing will be to conduct structure maintenance of the building and restore it to its original heritage condition,” Mr Penno said.
“The building wasn’t built for the purpose of a museum and it needs to be redeveloped to include more modern facilities such as wheelchair access.”
Mr Penno said the memorial hall formed a significant part of the community.
“I believe this is a very attractive proposition for the government and I am optimistic we will be successful in our application for funding.” Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the redevelopment plans were timely and appropriate, given the upcoming centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.
“Like many, my family has a story,” Ms Chesters said.
“Both great-grandfathers on my mother’s side fought for the Commonwealth in the Great War.
“The Soldiers Memorial Institute Museum highlights the personal sacrifices made by our men and women. I am not aware of any other building in regional and rural Australia that is so well placed to continue to tell this remarkable story.”
Liberal candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley said that if elected in September, he would work to ensure a Coalition government supported the project.
“I am very supportive of the plans to redevelop the museum and I have been working closely with the RSL sub-branch,” Mr Bickley said.
“This is a very important project for Bendigo and with the centenary of the Anzac landing coming up, I understand its significance.”