Introduction from Rebekha Sharkie MP:
The people of Mayo are dedicated and passionate. We care deeply about our local area and the challenges we face at a state and national level. Since the July 2016 election, I have been working hard to represent our collective interests and be a voice for our community.
Over the first half of 2017 I held 16 community forums across the electorate to give our community the opportunity to speak into the issues that matter most and set the direction for my work as the Member for Mayo. It was a pleasure to meet with hundreds of local residents and talk about how we can make our region an even better place to live, work and play.
The forums themselves followed on from my first electorate-wide survey, which had an overwhelming response rate. From the survey we determined the top priority issues for the electorate and took them to the community forums to be expanded on in more detail.
There was no shortage of ideas. But to make a difference in our community, we need to work together. We all need to be champions of change. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
We need to think about what we are passionate about and what we want to see changed and then we can all be the instigator of that change. It’s easy to sit back and say that the government (at any level) should provide more funding for this or that, but when governments are allocating funding and establishing priorities they must be guided by us. They can only do that if we make our voices heard. Make your voice heard and become a champion for the change you want to see happen. Become an organiser in your community and bring other like-minded people together to build the evidence base and amplify your influence.
If you are willing to step up and drive change on an issue, leading as an individual or a community group, I will stand alongside you and provide support and guidance to help you on your way.
In my first year as the Member for Mayo, I have been involved in several grassroots campaigns already. The 24-hour doctor for the Mount Barker Hospital is a great example of success. The South Coast community also had an active role in securing better public transport from the Goolwa and Victor Harbor districts to the city, with hundreds completing our survey to assist the State Government to decide what action to take. In this report you will find a summary of the most frequently raised issues at the community forums, what I have done so far and what we can do together to drive further change.
I am proud to present this report, which will continue to guide me in the coming months and years. I look forward to coming back to communities to track our progress on these issues in a year’s time. But I cannot do it alone. These challenges are bigger
than one level of government and one person. I look forward to raising my voice alongside yours as we fight for a better Mayo and, indeed, Australia.
Rebekha Sharkie MP
Federal Member for Mayo