Welcome to the latest edition of my Memo from Mayo.
We have another week of preparation before the last sitting weeks of the Parliamentary year when the crossbench welcomes Dr Kerryn Phelps, the new Independent Member for Wentworth, to her place in our Federal Parliament.
In the meantime, I have been busy in the electorate and my office has been incredibly busy with inquiries. Contacts with our office have increased dramatically since the by-election. If you have had to wait for a reply to a policy inquiry, please be patient, we are attempting to address all our correspondence as quickly as possible.
ScoMo the Christmas Grinch
This week Rebekha called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "stop behaving like the Christmas Grinch" and actually increase the Department of Social Services’ latest Financial Wellbeing and Capability Fund amount.
The call came after the Foodbank charity announced that its funding had been effectively halved under the latest funding allocation.
The decision would have affected partner charities such as the Hutt Street Centre and UnitingCare Wesley.
“Funding for food relief has been frozen for the past decade and yet our charities and not-for-profits are struggling to keep up with demand,” Rebekha said.
Bowing to public pressure, the Prime Minister did eventually reverse the decision.
You can read Rebekha's press release here.
Her statement on the Prime Minister's reversal is here.
And you can listen Rebekha discuss the issue on the ABC here.
Protect the Bight
Rebekha Sharkie has renewed her call for Heritage Listing of the Great Australian Bight following the recent release of modelling showing an oil spill in this pristine environment could end up being the largest in world history.
The BP modelling for a proposed drilling site in the Bight (now held by the company Equinor) was only released after a two-year legal battle by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
It shows a Bight oil spill could release more than twice the amount of crude oil that entered the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
"This is not 'environmental lobbyist fearmongering'," Rebekha said.
"This is the actual modelling of oil super giant BP and we should all be deeply concerned by the potential risk to the environment and our local economy."
You can read her press release here.
Grant drop-in session
Photo: Rebekha and constituent adviser Hayley with Harry Seager from the Callington Recreation Park Committee.
Rebekha hosted a 'drop-in' grant information session on November 8 so clubs and organisations could receive feedback and advice on applications for the community investment stream of the Building Better Regions Fund.
"We had a great turnout and I was pleased to see such a wide variety of projects being developed right across Mayo," Rebekha said.
"If you couldn't make it, you're welcome to call my office on 8398 5566."
Please remember applications close November 15. More information here.
Speaking of grants, Rebekha recently attended the official opening of the Kingscote Skatepark which was constructed using State Government funding with some help from a $10,000 Federal Government grant through the 2017 Mayo Stronger Communities Program.
Since then Rebekha and her assessment team have shortlisted 20 applicants for Mayo's $150,000 share of the 2018 Stronger Communities Grants Program.
The successful projects are expected to be announced later this year with some organisations already advised that they have been granted funding.
South Coast Young Mayo
Photo: Rebekha is pictured with a number of young people who attended Young Mayo on the South Coast.
Rebekha's youth advisory group Young Mayo met on the South Coast on November 7.
The young people who attended raised concerns about the declining population of the rare hooded plover along the beaches in their region.
Rebekha will now write to the Victor Harbor Council to request more patrolling of dogs on leash on beaches. She will also contact the South Coast Environment Centre to seek advice about ways to protect the species.
Councillor (now Mayor) Moira Jenkins came along to Young Mayo to ask the group what they thought a youth centre in Victor Harbor would look like.
Moira is working with Father Jesse Poole to develop a centre.
The new Mayor took the comments from Young Mayo to a meeting with the Victor Harbor Rotary Club.
Club members are looking at supporting a youth centre concept.
Music: Count Us In
Photo: Music: Count Us In at the Lobethal Primary School, with the Scott Creek Primary School.
Rebekha recently attended Kidstock and Music: Count Us In at the Lobethal Primary School.
This year was the fourth year that Lobethal Primary has taken part in Music Count Us In.
The students at the school and (and Scott Creek Primary who came over for Kidstock) were among 500,000 students across the country singing the same song at the same time.
There are some concerns that Music Australia's 10-week education program Music: Count Us In will not be happening next year due to budget cuts.
Rebekha is currently making inquiries with Music Australia and the office of the Education Minister Dan Tehan regarding their negotiations.
"This is a wonderful program that provides music education free of charge to many schools that cannot afford a music program," Rebekha said.
"I don't want to see this program go by the wayside because the Government argues it has provided extra money to the states through the Gonski 2.0 education reforms."
You can watch the performance by Lobethal and Scott Creek Primary students here.
Showtime over ... for another season
Rebekha and her team have hosted stalls at eight shows, the Meadows Country Fair and several farmers markets across the electorate in the past nine months.
"I love chatting to people at these events. It's very informal and a great way for people to raise concerns or just say hi," Rebekha said.
"The last show for the season for the Sharkie team was Uraidla where I was able to give away my recently printed 2019 Mayo Menu Calendar.
"The calendar is a collection of the recipes from our 2018 social media campaign to promote our local farming families in Mayo and encourage our community to get behind our local produce.
"If you missed out at Uraidla, feel free to drop into my electorate office in Mt Barker and my part-time office at the Victor Harbor Council on Wednesdays (9am-4.30pm) to pick one up."
Lest We Forget
Rebekha and her team marked the Centenary of Armistice by attending Remembrance Day services across the electorate from Langhorne Creek to Mount Compass and Stirling.
Rebekha also attended other events including a tractor run at Milang to raise money for Legacy, a street parade in Mount Barker and the official opening of memorial panels at the Nairne RSL using funds from the Armistice Centenary Grants Program.
Many other projects under this program have been opened (including the sculptural cut-outs pictured above at the Mount Compass War Memorial Community Centre when Rebekha met with local man Bill Cooman to discuss memorial works in the town).
The Armistice Centenary Grants Program is now closed but if your community has memorial projects they wish to pursue, the Saluting Their Service Commemorations Program - Major Commemorative Grants - is now open.
Grant applications close at 2pm (AEDT) on 10 January 2019.
Another week of Parliament has begun. Here's an overview of a few of the issues Rebekha raised last week.Read more
Mayo's own UN Youth Representative
Mayo's own Youth Representative to the United Nations, Amos Washington, centre, with Rebekha and her Centre Alliance colleague Senator Rex Patrick at Parliament House.
Australia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations, Amos Washington of Mount Barker, was the special guest at an event in Federal Parliament organised by Rebekha through the Parliamentary Friends of Young People.
Amos, a 22-year-old law student, has spent the past six months on a self-funded tour of Australia talking to young people prior to heading to New York next month to address the United Nations General Assembly about his findings.
Co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Young People - Centre Alliance Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and Liberal Member for Brisbane Trevor Evans – hosted the event with Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick so they could bring the voluntary work conducted by Amos to the attention of their colleagues.
“I am very proud of the work done by Amos, a young person from my electorate who was also a member of my youth advisory group, Young Mayo,” Rebekha said.
You can watch a video with Amos here.
And there might be time to grab at ticket to attend a fundraiser for Amos on September 6. Details below.
Kids in the House
Robert and Charlotte King from Littlehampton (pictured) visited Rebekha in Canberra as part of JDRF Australia’s Kids in the House campaign.
They were articulate advocates for research into Type 1 juvenile diabetes, calling for the Government to secure a further $50m over five years to continue the work of JDRF’s Clinical Research Network.
Charlotte was eight years old when she was diagnosed and thanks to research breakthroughs she is fitted with a Continuous Glucose Monitoring device and hasn't had to prick her finger to check her sugar levels.
However, Charlotte’s parents visit her school every day to conduct insulin injections.
Juvenile diabetes affects not just children but the whole family.
Finding a cure is the ultimate goal but research can also lead to new technologies to make life easier for the 120,000 Australians who live with this life-long autoimmune disease.
Rebekha recently met with Kylie Mines from Motivation Australia, a not-for-profit disability, and development organisation based in Aldinga.
Motivation Australia works with local organisations in the Asia Pacific Region to enable people to be healthy and mobile, access assistive technology and achieve full and equal inclusion.
With the Government scaling back spending on aid, organisations like Motivation Australia are struggling to secure sufficient funding to run primary health care projects in the Pacific.
One of their projects is running wound management training for nurses so people with diabetes who contract feet ulcers can avoid hospitalisation and possibly amputation.
Pension waiting times blowout
Rebekha used a speaking opportunity in Parliament to talk about the excessive waiting times for processing applications for the aged pension.
In Mayo, several constituents have waited months for their applications to be approved.
This Government needs to invest in Centrelink, especially in its service delivery.
Hats off to the Top Hat Forum
John Selby, left, from the Mount Barker Croquet Club, Jan Luck from COTA, Rebekha Sharkie MP, and Mount Barker Community Centre Manager Sean Hames at the Top Hat Forum.
Rebekha was the guest speaker at the latest Top Hat Forum run by the Mount Barker Council and the Mount Barker Community Centre.
The forum meets at the council chambers whenever there is a fifth Wednesday in a month and is a networking opportunity for various community groups with older memberships in the region.
Rebekha spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing Australia’s ageing population and the electorate of Mayo.
Mayo is the oldest electorate in SA and the eighth oldest in the country with more than one in five residents (22.3%) over the age of 65 years.
The number of Australians aged 85 years and over is projected to more than double from 455,400 in 2014 to 954,600 by 2034.
The number of people living to the age of 100 and beyond is expected to increase dramatically over this period, from about 4,600 in 2014 to 15,700 in 2034, and in another 50 years on, in 2084, there is expected to be more than 100,000 centenarians!