Memo from Mayo 20 September 2021
Welcome to my latest Memo from Mayo. What a wonderful feeling to be out of quarantine after my time in Canberra and to have the freedom to be out and about in our community. It's been a busy few weeks, on top of which, and I am hosting two community events - an online renewable energy forum on Thursday and an event with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in October - before heading back to Canberra. My first priority when I return to Parliament is to introduce a Private Member's Bill to give Australians the right to opt out of unwanted political texts. My Centre Alliance colleague Senator Stirling Griff will be introducing the same legislation in the Senate and between us, we hope to garner sufficient support from the major parties to bring about this important change. Read on to find out more.
Opt-Out of Pollie Texts
Rebekha is planning to reintroduce a Centre Alliance Bill to give Australians the right to opt-out of unsolicited political texts – but without the unwanted charity call provisions that caused the legislation to be rejected by a parliamentary inquiry last year.
Rebekha's drafted Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Unsolicited Communications) Bill 2021 mirrors a Private Members’ Bill introduced by her colleague Senator Stirling Griff back in 2019.
The legislation would allow Australians to unsubscribe from unsolicited electronic communication from political parties, and effectively stop MPs and political parties from bombarding mobile phones with unwanted texts.
The bill will be introduced in the spring sittings of Parliament in October.
Certainty for Afghan Refugees
After a recent conversation with Kon from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Rebekha used her last opportunity during Question Time in the winter sitting to ask the Home Affairs Minister WHEN the Government was going to transfer the 4,427 recognised Afghan refugees living in Australia on temporary visas onto permanent residency visas.
"These people cannot go back to a war zone. They need certainty. Minister Andrews says the Government is working on a solution and has offered to meet with me to discuss the matter further. I will definitely be taking her up on that offer," Rebekha said.
Rebekha is hosting an afternoon with ASRC Chief Executive Kon at McLaren Vale on October 13. Due to COVID travel restrictions, Kon and his campaign adviser Jana will be appearing via video link, while Welcoming Centre Campaign Manager Kate Leaney and Fida Hussain, a member of Welcoming Australia’s advisory panel, will be speaking in person at the event.
For more information and to register head to https://www.rebekhasharkie.com.au/ASRC
You can watch Rebekha in Question Time on YouTube.
Positive Ageing Forum Aldinga
Details for the third of Rebekha's popular Positive Ageing Forum, this one at Aldinga, have been confirmed.
The event will be held at the Aldinga Community Centre in Aldinga Beach on Monday, November 15, 9am to 1pm.
Guest speakers include well-known broadcaster Graeme Goodings, National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke and Tim Donlan from Donlan Lawyers who will discuss legal issues for positive ageing including wills, powers of attorney, advance care directives and elder abuse.
The day will include an expo of stalls for local community groups and local speakers from the University of the Third Age and Grandparents for Grandchildren as well as a how-to for self-managing aged care in the home.
"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," Rebekha said.
To register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You for Working in Aged Care
September 1 was Thank you for Working in Aged Care Day.
Rebekha marked the occasion by using her Member's Statement Speech to say a big Thank You to Australia’s aged care workers, to the personal carers, nurses, allied health professionals, cleaners and cooks in aged care.
"You work long hours day after day doing the important work of looking after the older Australians who worked hard to nurture us and build the nation we are today. You play an important role. You need to be recognised and you need to receive fair pay," Rebekha said.
You can watch Rebekha's speech on YouTube.
Main South Road and Victor Harbor Road
The State Government has finalised the designs for the duplication of Main South Road and Victor Harbor Road to McLaren Vale.
The $500M investment includes $12M for overtaking lanes and intersection upgrades between Mount Compass and Victor Harbor. This funding was secured by Centre Alliance as part of Rebekha's advocacy to improve safety measures along this section of the Victor Harbor Road.
“Having an independent Member for Mayo means big wins for the electorate. Thanks to my successful advocacy Mayo is about to see its biggest infrastructure spend since the Heysen tunnels!" Rebekha said.
“I have long advocated for greater investment in upgrading our roads across Mayo. There are a number of regions within my electorate where the population is growing rapidly and there is enormous pressure on the existing road network, and the Aldinga, Sellicks, South Fleurieu is one of those areas.
“South Road is also the main transport route down the Fleurieu to Kangaroo Island so improving safety is incredibly important. I will continue to do all I can to advocate for better infrastructure for Aldinga, Sellicks and the Southern Fleurieu.”
The Department for Infrastructure and Transport is hosting drop-in community information sessions at the Aldinga Community Centre on October 6 and at the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre on October 9. You can register for the sessions and find out more about the duplication plans here.
Groundbreaking Ceremony at Heathfield Oval
Rebekha was a special guest at a recent groundbreaking ceremony at Heathfield Oval for a $1.76M project to upgrade the changerooms and cricket nets.
The Federal Government contributed $499,199 towards the project as part of a 2019 Federal Election commitment.
The State Government contributed $490,000, the Adelaide Hills Council contributed $675,902 and the sporting clubs using the oval contributed the remainder.
“This project is a great example of partnerships, of the three tiers of government working together with the local community to deliver much-needed upgrades to sporting facilities in Mayo,” Rebekha said.
“Mayo has been playing catch-up for many years when it comes to infrastructure investment so I am pleased to be able to advocate for funding for our community.”
Flat to Vale Trail
Rebekha has been advised by the City of Onkaparinga that construction on the Flat to Vale Trail cycling and walking track will start in October.
"Last year I successfully advocated for $1.5M in federal funds for this project after working with the very enthusiastic Flat to Vale Trail Community Group," Rebekha said.
"It’s a great project that will improve safety and enrich the lives of locals and visitors to this beautiful part of Mayo."
Rebekha has also met with the State Sports Minister Corey Wingard to discuss progress on the Mount Torrens to Birdwood section of the popular Amy Gillett Bikeway.
"Thanks to the advocacy of Centre Alliance, we were able to secure $2.6M in federal funding for this section of the Bikeway which was announced late last year," Rebekha said.
"The rail corridor is owned by the State Government and the Adelaide Hills Council is facilitating the construction of the Mount Torrens to Birdwood section. I am advised that the State Government and the Council are progressing a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the project and those negotiations are expected to conclude soon.
"Securing funding for the completion of Stage 4 of the Bikeway is something I have been working on since I was first elected in 2016 and it is a project often raised with me by my community so I am looking forward to hearing from the State Government and the Council regarding a start date for construction."
You can read more about Rebekha's advocacy here.
Grant Projects at Myponga and Harrogate
Rebekha welcomed the opportunity to attend two community events over the weekend at Myponga on the Fleurieu Peninsula and at Harrogate in the northern Hills.
At Myponga she joined the community for the official opening of the Myponga Memorial Garden and Flag Raising. The Myponga Memorial Hall had received $7,000 from the Saluting Their Service Commermorative Grants Program to construct a garden area with a flagpole.
At Harrogate Rebekha attended the official opening of the Harrogate Hall supper room restoration. This $20,000 project was funded thanks to community fundraising and a $10,000 grant from the Stronger Communities Programme.
"We've been advised that the next round of the Stronger Communities Programme will be open soon, so I encourage community organisations to get ready to submit expressions of interest for their special projects," Rebekha said.
"The Stronger Communities Programme provides each of the 151 Federal electorates in Australia with $150,000 to fund small capital projects.
"These projects aim to improve local community participation and contribute to vibrant viable communities. Clubs and groups can apply for grants up to $20,000."
Rebekha has recently released her latest newsletter outlining other grants available for community organisations and businesses, including primary producers.
"As always, I am happy to provide a letter of support for any funding application our community groups and sporting clubs wish to make," Rebekha said.
"This can be organised by emailing me at email@example.com. Please provide us with at least two weeks’ notice and include a draft of your application with your request to ensure a detailed letter of support can be provided."
Grant information is available on Rebekha's website. The September newsletter is available here Grants Newsletter September 2021 | Rebekha Sharkie MP
Totally Renewable Yackandandah
Rebekha is hosting an online presentation with Dr Juliette Milbank and Matthew Charles-Jones from Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) this Thursday evening, September 23.
Yackandandah is a resourceful and resilient town in regional Victoria. Born out of a desire to be proactive about climate action, the community established TRY in 2014. TRY has since established 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
R U OK Day
Rebekha took part in R U OK Day on September 9 by attending the Strathalbyn & Communities Suicide Prevention Network drop-in event and sausage sizzle cooked by The Rotary Club of Strathalbyn.
"The key message of R U Ok Day is that social connectedness and positive help-seeking can assist people in crisis and mental health is a whole of community responsibility. But there’s more to say after 'R U OK?'. This day just starts the conversation," Rebekha said.
"If you need assistance or you want more information about how you can have that serious conversation with a friend or loved one, please contact the Cliff Sweetman at the network. You can also contact Beyond Blue or call lifeline on 13 11 14."