Memo from Mayo 18 February 2020
Welcome to our first edition of the Memo from Mayo for 2020 after what has been a traumatic summer for many in our community following the Cudlee Creek Bushfire on 20 December 2019 and the outbreak of the Ravine Bushfire on Kangaroo Island early in the New Year. Our office has been busy helping residents access the recovery assistance they need and I have been persistent in my advocacy for our community to ensure our farmers, small businesses, householders and local councils receive the financial assistance they require. Federal Parliament has also resumed and the task of debating legislation has begun. With the spotlight back on Canberra, I have joined my Crossbench colleague Zali Steggall, the Independent Member for Warringah, in pushing for action on climate change. Read on for more information.
Campaign for climate
Image: Anna Medlin from Aldgate, left, and Pam White from Emu Bay on KI caught up with Rebekha Sharkie, the Federal Member for Mayo, at the People’s Climate Assembly in Canberra on February 4.
Rebekha joined crossbench MPs and leaders in science, health and agriculture in the first sitting fortnight to support the public release of climate action legislation being introduced by Zali Steggall MP.
Rebekha is seconding the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020 which is scheduled to be introduced by the Independent Member for Warringah as a Private Member’s Bill in March.
The legislation is modelled on the UK’s Climate Change Act (2008) and is designed to provide a comprehensive framework to respond to climate change.
You can find out more about the bill and the campaign at rebekhasharkie.com/climate_act_now.
Photo: Attending the February 10 press conference were Andrew Wilkie MP, Federal Member for Clark, left; Dr Kate Charlesworth representing the Climate and Health Alliance; Professor Penny Sackett, Current Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council and Former Chief Scientist for Australia (2008-2011); Charlie Prell, Deputy Chair for Farmers for Climate Action; Rebekha Sharkie MP, Federal Member for Mayo; Zali Steggall MP, Federal Member for Warringah; and Helen Haines MP, Federal Member for Indi.
Advocating for recovery
Photo: Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud recently visited the property of Mount Torrens farmer Rick Gladigau within the Cudlee Creek fire ground, hosted by Rebekha and Dan Cregan, State Liberal Member for Kavel.
Rebekha has spent the weeks following the Cudlee Creek Bushfire and the Kangaroo Island Bushfire supporting fire-affected communities and advocating on their behalf for recovery assistance, including equitable funding for Mount Barker Council and a clean-up program for South Australian fire grounds.
Rebekha has made several trips to the Island to distribute donations, meet with residents and farmers and hold talks with the Recovery Co-ordinator Mike Williams and other stakeholder groups.
Working in collaboration with local State MPs Dan Cregan and John Gardner, Rebekha has attended numerous community meetings in the Hills and hosted visits from various Ministers, including Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud.
The visits were an opportunity for farmers, growers, vignerons, small business representatives and councils to give feedback about grant assistance criteria, insurance claims, clean-up efforts, allegations of price rorting by some fencing contractors, access to quality fodder for dairy cattle and the rising price of fodder and the need for support for farm firefighting units.
A message from Rebekha outlining recovery assistance grants and services available to fire-affected communities can be read here.
You can read about Rebekha's successful advocacy for $1.4 million in recovery assistance for Mount Barker Council here.
You can read about Rebekha's advocacy for a $14 million clean-up fund in South Australia here.
Photo: During a visit to KI Rebekha with talks to three generations of the Kelly farming family from Stokes Bay, including Jordy Hannam and Janice Kelly.
Election donation bill
A Private Member’s Bill introduced by Rebekha that seeks to place all political donations of $1,000 or more on the public record has been referred to a parliamentary committee for review.
The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2019 was introduced by the Federal Member for Mayo in December last year and aims to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act to lower the political donation disclosure threshold from $13,800 to $1,000, and to remove ongoing indexation of that disclosure threshold.
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters announced the review this week, issuing an invitation to the public for written submissions.
Cherry Gardens connected
Photo: Cherry Gardens resident Don Wotton shows the NBN tower, the potential site for the installation of 4G equipment, to Rebekha and State Member for Davenport Steve Murray.
Cherry Gardens could soon have better mobile phone and data services thanks to a $200,000 Federal funding commitment secured by Rebekha.
The grant will go towards a $350,000 Regional Digital Connectivity Infrastructure project to set up 4G equipment on the existing NBN tower on a site near the Blackwood Golf Course.
The State Government, through the advocacy of the Member for Davenport Steve Murray, has written to Rebekha to confirm they will contribute some funds to the project.
The remaining amount will be raised via a competitive tender process with telecommunication companies.
You can read more about the project here.
Sports grants statement
Rebekha has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on behalf of the sporting clubs in Mayo who were rejected in subsequent rounds of the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program whilst it was under the stewardship of the then-Minister for Sport, Senator Bridget McKenzie.
The letter asks the Prime Minister to "make good" and fund all the applications that scored above Sports Australia's recommended merit threshold of 74 out of 100 and yet missed out on selection.
Six of those applications were from Mayo, including the Adelaide Hills Hawks Football Club, the Lobethal Tennis Club, the McLaren Football Club, the Echunga Netball Club, the Cherry Gardens Ironbank Recreation Ground and the Coromandel Valley Ramblers Cricket Club.
You can read the letter and Rebekha's statement on the sports grant inquiry here.
Projects to restore habitat for threatened species and to create a “bush kindy” for pre-schoolers at Cygnet River on Kangaroo Island were among the 15 grants selected for communities across Mayo.
Rebekha has welcomed the Government’s final approval of the grant applications for her electorate under the Communities Environment Program.
Mayo had $150,000 to share for local on-ground projects as part of the $22.65 million national program. Applications closed in September 2019.
“I elected to establish an independent committee of local people with environmental expertise to help me assess the grant applications to put forward to the Government for final approval,” Rebekha said.
You can read the full list of successful Mayo applicants here.
Mylor NBN decision
Photo: Rebekha is pictured with NBN Co Local Manager Kym Morgan at an NBN information session she hosted at Mylor in October last year. The session was one of five events organised in the electorate.
Rebekha has called on NBN Co to urgently review its "callous commercial decision" to place at least 450 properties on the outskirts of the Mylor township on its Sky Muster satellite service after initially promising the community wireless technology.
“This is a callous commercial decision that seeks to take the cheapest and easiest way to fix an issue for 495 affected premises that NBN Co has had two years to resolve in terms of not only finding but actually securing an appropriate site for their promised wireless tower,” Rebekha said.
Rebekha has written to NBN Co and the Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and is working with local residents to build a grassroots campaign to advocate for NBN Co to deliver a better technology outcome for the district.
"If NBN Co fails to reconsider, we could end up with 2,829 potential premises allocated satellite within 25km of Adelaide's GPO. Hobart is the capital city with the next highest allocation with 1,041 premises. Sydney has 139 premises allocated satellite," Rebekha said.
"Our community equates satellite NBN with the technology for remote Australia not the peri-urban fringe of a major capital city. NBN Co needs to reconsider its technology decisions."
You can read Rebekha's press release here.