Memo from Mayo - 16 August 2021

4 Aug 2021
Memo Mayo Mount Ainslie 2021 new website

Welcome to my latest Memo from Mayo. I'm safely at home in quarantine as COVID-19 continues its grip on the eastern seaboard. Unfortunately, the ACT has now recorded a further 19 cases and has extended the territory's lockdown until September 2 which calls into question the next sitting weeks. We now wait on the Prime Minister to make a call about the Parliament. In the meantime, there is plenty of news to share from the past fortnight. PS: The Memo from Mayo image with my Crossbench colleague Helen Haines MP is taken from the top of Mount Ainslie and overlooks Canberra, and yes I walked to the lookout from the National War Memorial.

Crossbench Opposes Clive Palmer Adverts

Five Federal Crossbench MPs in the Lower House have written a joint letter to Nine Entertainment Co. and News Corporation, calling on the major media companies to stop publishing advertisements from Clive Palmer and other groups that spread harmful misinformation about the COVID pandemic.

The letter, co-signed by Adam Bandt, Helen Haines, Rebekha Sharkie, Zali Steggall, and Andrew Wilkie, said the companies should acknowledge the harm done by the recent front-page advertisements in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, and The Australian, as well as regional mastheads including The Mercury, Herald Sun and Adelaide Advertiser, and stop publishing them.

“We call on Nine Entertainment Co. and News Corporation to acknowledge the harm done, live up to their civic duties as a national publisher and broadcaster in relation to the pandemic, and refuse to publish advertisements of this nature in future,” the letter said.

You can read more on Rebekha's website here.

Billion Trees for Jobs and Growth

The Federal Government needs to pour dynamic lifter on the Billion Trees for Jobs and Growth Plan to address the painfully slow rate of planting, according to Rebekha.

“The Plan was announced in 2018 to grow the domestic timber plantations but to date only around 2,800ha have actually been planted at around a thousand trees per hectare. At this rate, it will take the Government 300 years to reach its billion-tree target!” Rebekha said.

Rebekha commented on the Plan after raising the issue in Question Time late last week, asking Agriculture Minister David Littleproud exactly how many trees had been planted.

You can read more on Rebekha's website here.

You can read the Question Time Hansard here.

Centrelink delays

Rebekha has called on the Federal Government to re-assign more public servants to Centrelink to ease the pressure on Australians struggling to access services during COVID-19 restrictions.

Rebekha told Question Time on August 3 that constituents were being forced to queue outside a local Services Australia in the rain and cold because they were not allowed in the building due to social distancing guidelines.

You can read more on Rebekha's website here and you can read the Hansard here.

Renewed Call for Dental Voucher

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has renewed her call for a biennial $1000 dental voucher for pensioners.

The voucher concept was part of her 2019 Federal Election campaign. Last week during debate on legislation to extend dental care to infants, the Centre Alliance MP told Parliament that older Australians on low incomes shouldn’t be overlooked.

You can find out more on Rebekha's website here and read Rebekha's speech in full here.

Totally Renewable Yackandandah

Following up on her Renewables in the Region event with Dr Helen Haines MP in July, Rebekha is hosting an online presentation with Dr Juliette Milbank and Matthew Charles-Jones from Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY).

Yackandandah is a resourceful and resilient town in regional Victoria. When the local petrol station closed down, the community bought the business. Born out of a desire to be proactive about climate action, the community established TRY in 2014.

According to Juliette, a synchronicity of factors has fuelled the success that TRY has enjoyed, including three microgrids, a network of community buildings with solar and some batteries, a community energy retailer Indigo Power, a rooftop solar installation density of almost 60%, and now a community battery Yack01.

Mayo is invited to hear TRY’s story and take the opportunity to ask questions. A virtual forum is being held at 6.30pm on Thursday, 23 September.

To register for an online invitation, head to Totally Renewable Yackandandah | Rebekha Sharkie MP

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Rebekha has invited Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Chief Executive Kon Karapanagiotidis to be a guest speaker at an event in Mayo in October.

Kon and ASRC Director Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero, will give an update on the asylum seekers impacted by Medevac, the work of the ASRC and how members of the public can assist them.

The event is being held at the McLaren Vale Institute on Wednesday, 13 October, 2pm to 3.30pm.

To assist the lodgement of a COVID Management Plan, bookings are essential. You can register at An Afternoon with the Asylum Seeker Resource… | Rebekha Sharkie MP.

Extra Childcare Support

In the first sitting week, Rebekha spoke in Parliament about the cost of child care and the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Subsidy) Bill 2021.

"I welcome the announcement of an additional $1.7 billion in this year's budget to assist hardworking Australian families with the cost of child care. In particular, I welcome the removal of the subsidy cap. However, I do have some concerns the changes will not be implemented until July next year," Rebekha said.

You can read Rebekha's speech in full here.

ParlInfo - BILLS : Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Subsidy) Bill 2021 : Second Reading (

You can watch her speech on YouTube here.

Electoral Reform Legislation

The Government introduced four bills last week to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act and bring in electoral reform ahead of next year’s Federal election.

The legislation seeks to bring in a range of changes to counting procedures, party registration, non-party campaign expenditure, multiple voters and other campaigning offences.

"Some of the changes are more controversial than others and my Centre Alliance colleague Senate Stirling Griff and I will have to consider the legislation in detail," Rebekha said.

"We are disappointed that donation reform is not part of the package."

The ABC's Antony Green has a useful overview on his Election Blog.

NBN Business Fibre

Access to the NBN can be a bit of a lottery in Mayo but there are moves under NBN Co's latest corporate plan to improve services, especially for regional business.

NBN Australia recently announced the expansion of the NBN Business Fibre Initiative. This is good news for businesses in the Goolwa and Stirling areas which can now access cheaper, faster broadband within the Business Fibre Zone.

You can access the maps and read more about the program here.

Positive Ageing Forums

During the winter break, Rebekha hosted two Positive Ageing Forums in Mayo.

"Mayo is the oldest electorate by median age in South Australia. The needs of older people living in our community, including the aged-care system, has been a significant priority in my work in the parliament over these last five years. During a recent adjournment debate I spoke about the forums and thanked the many people who made these successful events possible," Rebekha said.

"Due to community feedback, I am looking at hosting another Positive Ageing Forum in the Aldinga area. Speakers and a venue are yet to be confirmed but we hope to run the event in November."

You can read Rebekha's speech in full here.

Homelessness Week

The first week of August marked Homelessness Week. According to Saint Vincent de Paul, Australia has a shortfall of 650,000 affordable homes. Sadly, 2,100 of these ‘missing homes’ exist within our Mayo community.

In the Willunga area, Saint Vincent de Paul receives 900 requests for emergency assistance each year.

To mark Homelessness Week, Rebekha gave a speech in Federal Parliament calling for the continuation of the National Rental Affordability Scheme which draws to an end in 2026.

You can read Rebekha's speech here.

ParlInfo - STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS : Homelessness (

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook