Memo from Mayo 25 September

25 Sep 2019

Welcome to another edition of our Memo from Mayo.

It's been a busy fortnight where I was able to re-establish the Parliamentary Friends for Climate Action and introduce two Private Member's Bills, one on political donations and another on payday lending reforms.

I was also able to use Question Time to quiz the relevant Ministers regarding an environmental review of the accommodation project approved in Flinders Chase Nation on Kangaroo Island and a more definitive timeline for delivering portable defibrillators for our Men's Sheds, and I spoke on a number of pieces of legislation relating to military rehabilitation, housing finance incentives and the Emergency Response Fund.

Payday lending reforms

Last week Rebekha introduced a Private Member’s Bill on payday lending reforms to push for protections for vulnerable Australians. The Bill reworks the Coalition’s own proposed legislation and was put forward to force some action from the Government.

You can read more about the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019 here and Rebekha's speech can be accessed here.

Photo: Alycia & Patrick from the Consumer Action Law Centre met with Rebekha in Parliament to discuss her Bill.

Political donation reform

Last week Rebekha introduced a Private Member’s Bill requiring political donations to be reported in “real-time” – that is, no later than five business days after receipt. At present, Commonwealth law provides for financial year annual donation disclosures. This has meant some donations have not been publicly released until 19 months after being made.

You can read more about the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Real-Time Disclosure of Political Donations) Bill 2019 here.

Rebekha's speech is also available here.

Friends for Climate Action

Rebekha and her crossbench colleagues, Independent MPs Dr Helen Haines and Ms Zali Steggall, have re-established the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action in the 46th Parliament.

The group is Co-Chaired by Rebekha and Helen with Zali as Deputy Chair with the aim of providing a non-partisan forum for Parliamentarians to hear from experts on climate change science and policy.

You can read more about the group here.

Photo: Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action Co-Chairs Rebekha Sharkie, Member for Mayo, left, and Dr Helen Haines, Member for Indi, and Deputy Chair Zali Steggall, Member for Warringah, met last week with UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors Lachlan Arthur and Steve Muan who presented the UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors 2019 report ‘A Climate for Change’. Climate change and its flow-on effects on wellbeing and safety were key topics in the report.

Flinders Chase National Park

Rebekha used Question Time to ask the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley – for a second time – to step in and review a controversial plan to build accommodation and roads in sensitive areas of the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island.

You can read Rebekha's response to Minister's Ley's answer, and access their letter exchange here.

Photo: Friends of Parks KI Western Districts members Bev Maxwell and Colin Wilson and KI Eco-Action's John Hodgson at the Flinders Chase information stall in Kingscote. Photo supplied by The Islander.

Child Care changes for the better

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan gave a shout-out to the Woodside Primary School Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) last week when he introduced amendments to the Government's child care reform package.

Earlier this year Woodside OSHC presented Rebekha with a petition signed by 20 parents calling for changes to the timeframe for enrolment so families who only use the facility for school holidays didn't have to go through the stress of re-enrolling every term.

Thanks to the advocacy from Rebekha and other parents, the Government is looking to change the enrolment timeframe.

You can read Rebekha's press release here.

Yankalilla Men's Shed

In April this year, the Federal Government announced funding to equip every Men's Shed with a portable defibrillator.

There are more than 900 Men's Sheds in Australia and about a dozen are in Mayo, including the Yankalilla Men's Shed which recently contacted Rebekha to find out when they would finally get this lifesaving equipment.

In the last sitting fortnight, Rebekha asked the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, to provide the House with an accurate timeline of when the government will make good on its promise.

According to the Minister, it should be early in the New Year.

Photo: Rebekha recently visited the Yankalilla Men's Shed where members supplied morning tea and asked for an update on the Government's promise to provide portable defibrillators to men's sheds around the nation

Support for veterans

Rebekha attended a fundraiser for Operation K9, Assistance Dogs for Veterans, held at Echunga on Sunday.

It was a full house at the High Tea & Fashion Show which raised about $5500.

The event also promoted the K9 Assistance Dogs for Veterans calendar.

To purchase a calendar contact Jenny via email at

Photo: Rebekha with Checker, who was named after the late Major Peter Checkley.

In other veteran news, Rebekha recently spoke in the Parliament on the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Single Treatment Pathway) Bill 2019.

The bill seeks to streamline medical treatment for veterans without the need for claim forms, up-front costs or financial disadvantage caused by long waiting times for reimbursement.

Centre Alliance believes there is more that needs to be done to improve care for veterans, and that is why Senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff intend to move an amendment in the Senate when Parliament returns next month.

Emergency Response Fund

Rebekha also spoke in Parliament on the Emergency Response Fund Bill 2019, Emergency Response Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019.

Centre Alliance supports the principle of the Bill but is concerned by the source of the funds used for the initial credit and the fact a large sum of money has sat in the now-dormant Education Investment Fund.

Centre Alliance also wants to ensure that an appropriate portion of the annual distributions is allocated to preventive measures to lessen the impact of natural disasters on our communities.

Rebekha used the speech as the opportunity to thank local CFS volunteers who have gone interstate to help fight the fires in NSW and QLD, and she mentioned the CFS awards ceremony she attended at Mount Compass.

Aldinga Surf Life Saving Club

The Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club suffered a devastating loss after the demolition of their clubrooms due to severe storm damage last year.

Since that time members have been working hard to rebuild while still serving the community, clocking up nearly 2,500 patrol hours last summer.

Rebekha was recently invited to the official opening of the club's new Operations Centre.

"Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club is a great example of the community spirit that is alive and well in Mayo," Rebekha said.

"Their new Operations Centre looks great and I was pleased to learn the club has been short-listed for a Stronger Communities Federal grant to build a pop-up barbecue/kitchen area for the coming season.

"Since demolition of the clubrooms, members have not had a space for social gatherings or to raise funds through catering.

"I am also looking forward to working with the club to ensure that the volunteers have the extra equipment they need to serve our community during the summer season."

You can listen to a speech Rebekha made in Parliament about the club here.

Photo: Rebekha is pictured with City of Onkaparinga Councillor Simon McMahon, left, Aldinga Surf Life Saving Club Vice-President Simon Rothwell and Club Patron Lorraine Rosenberg who is trying out the new Sand Cruiser. This piece of equipment was donated by the Lions Club of McLaren Vale for free use by people who use walkers or wheelchairs but would still like to swim in the sea.

Push for netting

Apple, pear and cherry growers in Mayo have done it tough in the last couple of seasons. Successive spring hailstorms have caused immense destruction.

Rebekha used an allocated Constituency Statement in the Parliament to talk about a dollar-for-dollar scheme for netting infrastructure she has been advocating for with the Federal Government.

You can watch her speech here.

Photo: Rebekha Sharkie discusses the Hailstorm Heroes local produce marketing campaign with Ashley Green at his Hillview Fruits apple and cherry orchard at Lenswood. Inset: An example of some of the hailstorm damage that appeared on apples.

National housing legislation

Rebekha has spoken in support of the Government's measures in the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Amendment Bill 2019 but says much more need to be done to turn around the decline in Australian homeownership.

You can read her speech here.

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