Memo from Mayo 4 March 2019

4 Mar 2019

Welcome to my latest edition of Memo from Mayo.

$8.6M for Emergency Department

The Federal Government’s announcement of an $8.6 million funding injection to upgrade the Mount Barker Hospital’s Emergency Department is fantastic news for the local community, their local MP Rebekha Sharkie said today.

“It has been obvious to me and everyone who has lived in the Hills for some time, experiencing the rapid population growth in the Mount Barker district first-hand, that we have been in desperate need of a modern ED in our region,” Rebekha said.

“This is why I advocated so hard for a 24-hour doctor at the hospital and why, once that service was installed, it has come as no surprise that ED admissions have surged significantly and the hospital has to revamp its ED facilities to provide a modern unit to deliver modern emergency medicine."

You can read more about the announcement here.

Don't forget to sign the petition to upgrade the Mount Barker Hospital ED here.

You can watch her call to arms here.

Finally! Renal dialysis for the Hills

Caption: Community advocate for renal dialysis Mike Bartlett, left, campaigned for the renal dialysis at the Mount Barker Hospital during the recent by-election with SA-BEST MLC Frank Pangallo and Rebekha.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed Country Health SA's decision to set up renal dialysis chairs in the Mount Barker Hospital chemotherapy unit next financial year.

“I have been fighting to secure accessible renal dialysis for Hills residents since winning office in 2016, and rumours have been circulating for some time that the chemo unit at the Mount Barker Hospital was being adapted to include haemodialysis so I am delighted that Country Health SA has announced an interim unit," Rebekha said.

“I have no doubt about the demand for the service so I am confident that Country Health SA will find a way to secure a long-term model for this life-saving treatment."

You can read more here.

And you can watch Rebekha talk about Mayo's health needs here.

Paddle Out for the Bight

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick (pictured left) and Rebekha (centre) joined more than a thousand protesters at Victor Harbor on Sunday as part of a national "Paddle Out" calling for a ban on exploring for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight.

The Victor Harbor protest took place at the same time as Paddle Outs in Warrnambool, Wollongong, Manly, Byron Bay, Perth, Manly, Torquay and the Sunshine Coast.

The events were organised by The Wilderness Society which says plans by Norwegian company Equinor to conduct a deepwater drilling campaign in the Great Australian Bight should be rejected.

Rex and Rebekha spoke at the event. You can watch their speech here.

You can also read more about what Centre Alliance is doing on this issue here.

Centre Alliance welcomes vote on medevac bill

Centre Alliance welcomes the vote on the amended asylum seeker medevac bill.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said the recent passage of the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 in the Lower House was a sensible and considered outcome for a humanitarian issue that has dragged on for too long.

“This is sensible legislation that provides a medical solution for a medical problem," Rebekha said.

“It addresses the concerns of national security and insufficient timeframes and it ringfences the legacy caseload of those people left on Manus and Nauru for more than five years."

You can read more here.

Rural Finance reform

In the wake of the findings of the Banking Royal Commission, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has reintroduced her Private Member’s Bill to reform the rural finance sector.

The newly labelled Banking Amendment (Rural Finance Reform) Bill 2019 is the same legislation introduced in 2018 and aims to protect small farm properties valued at under $5 million from “arbitrary and draconian” lending practices.

“The banks have behaved badly, and this bill addresses the real problems affecting the rural finance sector,” said Rebekha, Centre Alliance’s Spokesperson for Agriculture.

You can read more about this Bill here.

You can watch Rebekha's speech here.

Dairy industry back in the headlines

Caption: Casey Treloar, left, Farmer Power vice-president and Simpson dairy farmer Alex Robertson, Lyndy Morris from Aussie Helpers, Federal member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and Farmer Power President Garry Kerr at Parliament House in Canberra.

Last week I met with Casey Treloar whose family have walked away from their dairy farm on the Fleurieu because of the ongoing problems with unsustainable milk prices. Anti-competitive market behaviour isn't just a threat to the dairy industry, it's a threat to all family farm industries.

My former colleague Nick Xenophon did a lot of work in this space and I agree with his conclusions that we need divestiture provisions and stronger laws to combat the 'effects' of anti-competitive behaviour.

You can read his comments in the Senate report into the dairy industry from 2017 here:

You can watch Rebekha's speech here.

Excessive diversion of Murray-Darling water for irrigation

Caption: Pictured on the banks of the Murray River are Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff, Rebekha, Senator Rex Patrick, Centre Alliance Candidate for Barker Kelly Gladigau and Centre Alliance Senate Candidate Skye Kakoschke-Moore.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and her Centre Alliance colleague Senator Rex Patrick today welcomed the release of the Australian Academy of Science’s report on recent fish kills in the Murray Darling Basin.

"The Academy of Science’s report provides further evidence that the Murray-Darling river system is in dire straits," Senator Patrick said.

"The findings of the Academy’s expert panel are absolutely clear, and absolutely consistent with the findings of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission - too much water is being taken for irrigation and not enough is being allowed to flow down the Darling River.

You can read more here.

Inaugural meeting for Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action

Caption: Attending the inaugural event for the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action were Co-Chair Dr Kerryn Phelps, the Independent Member for Wentworth, left; Tweed Valley farmer Robert Quick; Australian Farmers for Climate Action Chief Executive Officer Verity Morgan-Schmidt; NSW farmer Charlie Prell; Narrandera farmer Graham Strong; and Co-Chair Rebekha Sharkie.

It was a full house for today’s inaugural meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action group co-chaired by the Centre Alliance Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and the Independent Member for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps.

Members of Parliament and advisers from across the political spectrum turned up to hear speakers from Farmers for Climate Action discuss innovations in the agricultural sector to tackle climate change.

“We had a fantastic turnout and we hope this will be the start of many events to come,” Rebekha said.

“The Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action is about taking the partisan politics out of this issue so we can build consensus and share important knowledge about climate science in this Parliament.”

You can read more here.

Centre Alliance opposes Labor's franking credit policy

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has put Centre Alliance’s opposition to Labor's dividend imputation policy on the record.

Speaking in Federal Parliament recently, Rebekha said many retirees and soon-to-be retirees had structured their financial affairs for many years around the current dividend imputation arrangements.

“I want to put on the record that I and my Centre Alliance Senate colleagues will not support any legislation that will leave retirees worse off,” Rebekha said.

“We also take a dim view of supporting any legislation that is retrospective.

“People make long-term decisions in good faith based on the laws of the day.”

You can read more here and watch Rebekha's speech here.

Clients need to see their draft NDIS plans

The Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called on the Minister for Families and Social Services to intervene and allow clients of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to view their draft plans before they are submitted for final assessment.

Rebekha made the call after raising the issue in Question Time in early February, saying errors and misunderstandings in draft planning stage were leading to woefully inadequate plans, months of delay, and exclusion from services for people with disabilities.

“I was deeply concerned when Minister Paul Fletcher told me that people could just ask for an internal review if they found there was a problem with their final plan,” Rebekha said.

Read more here.

Protect intellectual property of First Nation people

A parliamentary report recommending a range of measures to curb overseas rip-offs of Aboriginal and Torrens Islander art has been welcomed by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

In particular, the Centre Alliance MP is urging the Government to take up the recommendation to draft legislation to protect Indigenous cultural intellectual property.

Two years ago Rebekha seconded a Private Member’s Bill by Queensland Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, which sought to stop foreign importers from cashing in on Indigenous culture.

“This Private Member’s Bill would have reversed the onus of proof of authenticity from the artist or art centre to the trader, preventing that enterprise from selling Indigenous art, souvenir items and other cultural affirmations that could not be sourced from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists who were recognised by the community with whom they identified,” Rebekha said.

You can read more here.

You can watch her speech here.

Bill to block unwanted political texts

Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff has introduced a bill to give people more control over nuisance calls and texts – such as Clive Palmer’s recent spam SMS.

Under the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Unsolicited Communications) Bill 2019, texts from political parties and candidates would have to contain an “unsubscribe” function – a neat and simple solution for people annoyed or angered at receiving these unsolicited texts.

The bill will also allow people on the Do Not Call Register to opt out of further cold calls from charities.

You can read more here.

Don't forget! Community forums start this week

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is holding her second round of community consultation forums since first taking office in 2016.

The 21 events criss-cross the electorate during March and include forums for the new elector areas of Sellicks, Aldinga Beach, Hawthorndene and Craigburn Farm.

You can find more detail and RSVP here.

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