Memo from Mayo 24 August 2020

24 Aug 2020
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Welcome to my latest edition of the Memo from Mayo.

Today I'm in Canberra for the first sitting of Federal Parliament after the winter break. My Centre Alliance colleague Senator Stirling Griff and I are expecting a busy sitting because the Government has a huge legislative agenda planned. When we return to Parliament again in October it will be for the delayed Federal Budget. I have used the winter break to visit schools and businesses across the electorate and to make two trips to Kangaroo Island to meet with constituents, businesses and community leaders. As an 'essential worker' I am not required to quarantine when I return to SA. However, I believe it is safest for me and the community to self-isolate for this period. At the end of the two weeks I have scheduled mobile electorate offices at Aldinga, Willunga and McLaren Vale between September 22 and September 25. Flyers will be posted to these areas. Bookings are essential. Ring my office on 8398 5566 to make an appointment. You can view the flyer here: Mobile electorate office flyer

Airborne Research Over Firegrounds

Last week Rebekha travelled to Parafield Airport to meet two scientists from the Adelaide Hills and learn more about their not-for-profit group Airborne Research Australia.

Dr Andrew McGrath and Associate Professor Jorg Hacker are both directors, chief scientists and chief pilots for this environmental data collection and analysis venture that began in the 1980s as part of Flinders University.

The venture still has connections to the university, both men are adjunct professors, but now they are funded by research grants and philanthropists.

In recent times Airborne Research Australia has tested navigation equipment for NASA, mapped seagrass species along the coast of Adelaide and discovered submerged ancient Aboriginal structures off the northern West Australian coast.

“Their work is varied and fascinating and I spent a great deal of time looking at their mapping of the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island firegrounds,” Rebekha said.

“With their specialist light aircraft and specialist equipment they have collected some detailed information, including liDAR images, that is publicly available if you let Andrew and Jorg know who you are."

The public can access the downloaded information here:

The main website is here:

Photo: Airborne Research Australia directors, Associate Professor Jorg Hacker, left, and Dr Andrew McGrath, show Rebekha one of their aircraft.

Barney’s Trophy Award

Rebekha was invited to the Clarendon Netball Club on Saturday, August 15, to present the Barney's Trophy Award.

The award is dedicated to a Club Committee member, the late Darren (Barney) Bidmade, who lost his life to pancreatic cancer a few years ago.

The award is given to a junior player who shows the characteristics that Barney lived by - play hard, play fair and never give up.

Rebekha was one of the selectors of the trophy winner.

Rebekha also took the opportunity to check on the progress of the club's new shelter shed. Rebekha secured $30,000 in Federal funding for the shed construction.

“From six teams 15 years ago, Clarendon Netball Club has grown significantly to become the largest club in the Southern Hills Netball Association with 20 teams,” Rebekha said.

“Unfortunately, their facilities haven’t kept up with the growth or the times and they approached my office for assistance.

“Members have worked hard to maintain their presence in the Clarendon area so I was pleased to secure this money to allow them to upgrade their shedding and provide cover for the barbecue area and canteen.”

Photo: Clarendon Netball Club life member Carol Brock, left, Karen Bidmade (widow of Darren (Barney) Bidmade), trophy recipient Charlotte Creaser and Rebekha.

Anniversary End of World War 2

August 15 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2.

Several RSL sub-branches in Mayo invited residents to recognise the anniversary by sharing photographs of their veteran family members.

Rebekha marked the anniversary by sharing a photograph (right) of herself taken at the Mount Barker RSL with Colin Wagener from Highland Valley in the Adelaide Hills.

“This wonderful man is 102 years' young,” Rebekha said.

“Colin had plenty of stories about his long life to share with me when we caught up. Colin told me the best day of his life was arriving home from World War 2 in 1945 on Christmas Day and his Mum answered the door.”

Channel 44 Campaign

After successfully securing a further 12-month, on-air broadcast extension for Channel 44, Rebekha recently fulfilled to a promise to visit the community television station’s headquarters in the ABC Collinswood Centre.

“I met some of the team and Kristen took me on a tour of the offices and shared studio,” Rebekha said.

“Channel 44 and their sister station Channel 31 in Melbourne/Geelong are working on a transition plan to go solely online, as requested by the Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher.

“However, I am concerned that older viewers and some culturally diverse viewing audiences will miss out a year down the track when the licence extension expires, for the last time.

“If you'd like to see a permanent on-air licence for Channel 44, why not contact the station via their website at or call 8269 6577 to offer your assistance for any campaign? You can also call my office on 8398 5566.”

School and Kindy Visits

Rebekha visited 16 schools and pre-schools in Mayo in July and August, conducting civics lessons and youth leadership presentations and presenting flags.

Last week Rebekha gave a presentation to Heathfield High School’s Middle Year S4S student leaders as part of their professional development event.

“The S4S team was very engaged and these up and coming leaders asked some insightful questions about leadership and driving social change within their school and the community as a whole,” Rebekha said.

Photo: Rebekha with Heathfield High School’s Middle Year S4S student leaders.

Stirling District Kindergarten

In early August Rebekha presented flags to Stirling District Kindergarten and took part in a smoking ceremony conducted by Uncle Tamaru from the Deadly Mob Kaurna Cultural Programs.

Uncle Tamaru is a valued member of the kindy community. The children do an acknowledgement of country in the Kaurna language every day.

Back to Kangaroo Island

Cancelled sittings of Parliament presented an opportunity for Rebekha to plan an additional visit to Kangaroo Island.

The two-day day trip followed on from her visit in July where she hosted constituent meetings at Penneshaw and Kingscote, conducted a civics lesson at KICE, met with Ron Manton from the Bushfire Recovery Centre and caught up with businesses and Darren Keenan the rural financial counsellor.

Rebekha was instrumental in securing $1M for four financial counsellors in bushfire-affected areas in Mayo.

During the August visit Rebekha conducted constituent meetings at Parndana and American River and visited businesses across the Island including KI Shellfish at American River and the Western KI Caravan Park.

The itinerary included a trip to Cape Willoughby to meet with the NRM Board and do a tour of the feral cat eradication program.

Rebekha also met with Parndana residents to discuss the lack of suitable childcare facilities in the area which is hampering recovery efforts.

"I wanted to make the most of the July winter break and the delay of Federal Parliament in August to come to the Island and meet with residents and businesses,” Rebekha said.

"Parliament returns later this month and I anticipate that the schedule for the remainder of the year will be busy with parliamentary sittings and recommendations to self-isolate when returning to South Australia.

"Federal funding is flowing into the Island and the feedback from residents and businesses is that community resilience is strong but there is a long way to go."

Rebekha spoke in Parliament about the tourism industries on the Island and across Mayo. You can watch her speech on Youtube here:

Photo: Rebekha at Milly Mae's café at Penneshaw with Jade, Ruby and Ava.

Drought Funding for KI

The Federal Government has announced an additional $1M for the Kangaroo Island Council under its Drought Communities Program.

The funding is being used for township upgrading projects including pedestrian access improvements at the ferry terminal at Penneshaw; streetscaping and parking improvements in the main street of Kingscote; streetscaping and community artworks in the main street of Parndana and improvements to the jetty and wharf area at American River.

The Island was originally excluded from drought assistance funding.

However, late last year Rebekha wrote to the Minister for Water Resources and Drought, David Littleproud, to argue that the KI Council met the program criteria and to successfully advocate for the Council’s inclusion and allocation of an initial $1 million.

“This month Kangaroo Island received another $1 million which is going to local government for some great projects,” Rebekha said.

“Between drought, bushfire and COVID-19, the KI economy has taken some big hits in the past year, so I am really pleased to have been able to advocate on behalf of our community to secure this drought-assistance funding.”

“I have spent several days on the Island meeting with residents, talking to community leaders and visiting programs and enterprises.

“It’s encouraging to see so much starting to happen.”

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