Memo from Mayo November 30
Welcome to my latest edition of Memo from Mayo. We have one more week before Parliament closes for the Christmas break but the crossbench and my Centre Alliance colleagues in the Senate are working hard to get some runs on the board.
National Integrity Commission
Photo: Members of the crossbench, including Rebekha, and representatives of Transparency International Australia attend a press conference discussing a Bill to set up a National Integrity Commission.
This week Rebekha Sharkie seconded a Private Member’s Bill calling on the Government to set up a National Integrity Commission.
The National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 was introduced by the Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan and is part of a package of legislation to promote public trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament, the public sector and the system of Government.
“This is something I and my Centre Alliance colleagues, the crossbench and indeed the Australian people have been advocating for some time,” Rebekha said.
“I was pleased to second Cathy’s Bill and I was later encouraged when the House of Representatives passed on the voices a motion from the Senate calling for the national anti-corruption commission.
“I now call on the Government to support a referral of the Bill to a parliamentary committee.
"Next week my colleague Senator Rex Patrick will move for the establishment of a committee."
You can watch Rebekha's speech here.
Friends of Climate Action
Photo: This week Rebekha attended Doctors for the Environment's 'No Time for Games' Campaign outside Parliament House. This campaign encourages doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to take action on climate change.
Rebekha has launched the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action group in a bid to encourage a “non-partisan” approach to climate policy.
Rebekha announced the group this week after moving a motion calling upon the Government to take “urgent, genuine and meaningful action” to significantly reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions.
“This week I am launching the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action to provide a non-partisan forum for Parliamentarians to hear from experts on climate change science and policy. I will continue to do what I can to press the Government to act on climate change,” Rebekha said.
Drug rehab funding for SA
The Minister for Health confirmed that regional South Australia would receive $20 million in funding for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services with the announcement of the opening of the grant applications.
Up to $2.5 million in Government funding is available for the Fleurieu region and will provide a much-needed boost to rehabilitation services for regional communities across South Australia.
The services are part of a $40 million package negotiated by Rebekha on behalf of Centre Alliance as part of the Government’s welfare reforms and announced in the 2018/2019 Federal Budget.
In addition to the $20 million in rehabilitation services for South Australia, the package includes $20 million to support GPs and other allied health professionals in regional and remote Australia to access professional development and specialist skills in addiction medicine.
You can read more here.
Licensed MRI opening
Photo: Dr Steve Evans from Dr Jones & Partners and Rebekha Sharkie MP cut the ribbon to officially open the new Medicare licence for the MRI in Mount Barker.
Earlier this month Rebekha officially opened Mount Barker’s first Medicare licensed MRI service, located at Dr Jones & Partners.
The service is one of 30 extra MRI licences promised by the Government as part of a $175 million commitment and represents more than two years of advocacy by the local MP.
“I am pleased to see that Dr Jones & Partners have also put in an application to the Government for an MRI licence for Victor Harbor, another rapidly growing area that is well overdue for a Medicare-rebatable licence," Rebekha said.
“I know I have put in my letter of support for this application and I certainly hope to be invited to another official opening on the South Coast.”
You can read her press release here.
Our hailstorm heroes
Rebekha discusses last year's Hailstorm Heroes campaign with Ashley Green at his Hillview Fruits orchard at Lenswood.
This week Rebekha spoke to three Federal Ministers and wrote to the State Agriculture Minister to advocate for storm-affected fruit growers in the Adelaide Hills.
“Not only did I have a conversation with the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud, I also met with Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher to discuss whether there was scope to extend the Farm Household Allowance for drought-affect farmers to affected growers, a step that requires more detailed information about the extent of the hail damage inflicted on orchards during last week’s storms,” Rebekha said.
“In addition, I had an urgent meeting with the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds, and discussed the possible declaration of the relevant areas of the Adelaide Hills as Category C for Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
“We need to have this declaration first so the Federal Government can provide assistance to growers so I have written to the State Emergency Services Minister, Corey Wingard, to respectfully ask the South Australian Government to take the necessary steps to make this happen.”
You can find out more here.
Tax relief review
Photo: Rebekha at Cape Jervis with Backstairs Passage in the background.
Rebekha has welcomed this week's announcement of a Productivity Commission review into tax relief for remote communities, including offshore islands such as Kangaroo Island.
“This is something I have been advocating for since coming into office because I believe it is incredibly unfair that people living on the Whitsunday Islands can claim tax concessions but Kangaroo Island residents cannot,” Rebekha said.
“I am also pleased to see that the review will involve broad public consultation when it begins in February next year because I know the island community will definitely respond.
“When I first began working on this issue a petition calling for KI to be included in the tax offset zone was organised by local Lisa Thompson and was signed by about 10% of the island’s population, nearly 500 people.”
You can read more about the review and access a link to the Government's press release here.
Photo: Country Life Compassion Community Liaison Officer Paquita Wise, left, shows Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie some of the offerings at The Pantry Club with the club’s co-ordinator, Matthew Boyle, and Chairperson Lew McMaster.
The Pantry Club, a Strathalbyn-based food assistance program for vulnerable residents, is one local charity thankful for the Federal Government's recent decision to reverse a funding cut to Foodbank.
The program, run by Country Life Compassion, sources many of its staple food products from Foodbank to service nearly 30 clients a fortnight who pay a small fee to purchase a range of groceries.
Foodbank raised the alarm about the future of their Key Staples Program earlier this month when the Department of Social Services cut their funding nearly in half to $430,000 under the latest round of the Financial Wellbeing and Capability Fund.
Rebekha has welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to restore nearly $400,000 to Foodbank but said a long-term solution needed to be found.
You can read her press release here. You can also drop off non-perishable foodstuffs for The Pantry Club at Rebekha's electorate office in Mount Barker.
Rebekha attended the second Milang Tractor Road Run (Pictured above) on Sunday 11 November which concluded with a Remembrance Day Service at the Langhorne Creek Memorial Hall.
She spoke about the Centenary of Armistice and the sacrifice and service of servicemen and women across the ages in Federal Parliament this week. You can read her speech here.