Member for Fisher and Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper is encouraging locals to prepare Christmas gift packages to send to Australian troops serving overseas.
Mr Slipper said there are almost 4500 Australian soldiers based overseas who will spend Christmas away from their families, and the “Christmas for the Troops 2011” programme gives ordinary citizens a chance to make their time away a little more enjoyable.
“Christmas is a season for spending quality time with loved ones and for those who are serving Australia in overseas postings, in challenging surroundings, being away from their loved ones is doubly difficult,” Mr Slipper said.
“The Christmas gift programme gives us a chance to say thanks to the troops, to let them know we are thinking of them and we appreciate their efforts, and to give them a gift package that aims to bring a smile to their face.”
Australia Post is offering FREE postage for care packages of up to 2kg, to all Australian Forces Postal Offices. Ideally, the care package should be packed in an Australia Post “BM” size postage box, costing around $2.
The packages should be securely taped, clearly labelled for a male or female soldier, or for an explosive detection dog, and then delivered to any Australia Post outlet. Those lodging packages will need to fill out customs forms.
Packages can be sent to soldiers stationed in the Middle East (including Afghanistan), explosives dogs in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. Packages must be lodged before Monday 5 December (for the Middle East) and Friday 9 December (for other destinations)
“Remember to be creative with what goes into the boxes, while being mindful of the obvious Australia Post restrictions; we want our men and women to get a real enjoyable surprise when they open the packages,” Mr Slipper said.
Suggested items to include are: non-aerosol deodorant, non-aerosol shaving cream, talcum powder, disposable razors, shower gel, lip balm, perfume (not glass), food items like dried noodles, biscuits, lollies, small tined items, magazines, puzzle books, DVDs, socks, letters of support, a stamped self-addressed envelope to allow the solder to write back with thanks. For the dogs, items can include: dog biscuits, dried beef bones, toys like tennis balls and treats for their handlers.
Alternately, local residents may wish to send an email of support to the troops: the address is firstname.lastname@example.org Senders should include their name, suburb and state at the top of the email and be aware the email may be published on Defence websites and social media sites. Personal details of the sender are not published.
For postal addresses for care packages, visit Mr Slipper’s website at: www.peterslippermp.com.au/