Memo from Mayo 8 February 2021

8 Feb 2021
Memo Mayo Port Elliot

Welcome to my first Memo from Mayo for 2021. We have started the year with far more rain than usual for a summer in Mayo. Given the potential catastrophe we were facing in our community when the Cherry Gardens bushfire ignited on January 24, I was extremely thankful to welcome the wettest January day on record in South Australia on January 25! Again, my thanks to all the firefighters and volunteers who helped those residents in need during this incident. From rainstorms to Parliament, I headed to Canberra last week for the first sitting of Federal Parliament. I was able to give a speech about telecommunications in times of disaster and I raised the increasingly scandalous issue of exorbitant fees for Home Care for our elderly. Read on for more information, and please note I am hosting drop-in information sessions for Building Better Regions Fund grants this week and Expression of Interest for the Stronger Communities Program closes on February 19.

Home Care Fee 'Rort'

Rebekha has called on the Government to introduce pricing caps to stop the ‘exorbitant’ management fees being charged to older Australians receiving in-home care, with some providers gauging more than 45 per cent of a package in fees and charges.

“Home Care have a legislative responsibility to keep package management fees and business costs to reasonable amounts but there are absolutely no guidelines to specify what ‘reasonable’ actually means and the Government’s claim that pricing transparency and market forces will keep prices down is just not the reality being experienced by our seniors,” Rebekha said.

“My office has received complaint after complaint from constituents whose family members are paying between a third and up to a half of their annual package in so-called 'management fees'.

“If the Government won’t act and fix this rorting, that I think is akin to elder abuse, I will introduce a Private Member’s Bill and demand change to the current legislation."

Rebekha raised the issue during Question Time. You can read more about her concerns here.

Rebekha was also interviewed by David Bevan on ABC 891's morning program on Friday. You can listen here.

The issue was also discussed with Jennie Lenman on 5MU's SA Today program. You can listen here.

Grant Information Sessions

Rebekha is hosting two information sessions for community groups interesting in applying for Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

  • The drop-in session at Mount Barker is being held at the Electorate Office, Shop 1/72 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, on Thursday, February 11, 11am to 2pm.
  • The drop-in session at Victor Harbor is being held at the satellite Electorate Office, 26 Hindmarsh Road, McCracken, on Friday, February 12, 1pm to 4pm.

“The $1billion Building Better Regions Fund for major infrastructure projects is designed to create jobs and drive economic growth in region communities outside the major capital cities,” Rebekha said.

“Round 5 is now open and I'm hosting drop-in sessions for community groups seeking advice or direction with their grant applications.

“Members of my team along with Stephen Shotton from Regional Development Australia Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island will be available to discuss any issue you might have putting together your application.”

Applications close on 5 March 2021. More information is available here.

Stronger Communities Program

Expressions of interest (EOI) for Round 6 of the Stronger Communities Programme closes on Friday, February 19.

“Our electorate has been allocated $150,000 to share among up to 20 local not-for-profit organisations or clubs as part of this popular capital grant program,” Rebekha said.

“The key factor this round is that groups do not have to match the grant funding with their own fundraising or in-kind support, unless the applicant is a council.

“Each EOI is considered by our Mayo committee and we have the discretion to shortlist up to 20 projects that will improve the local community.

“The short-listed groups will then be invited to lodge formal applications in March with the funding announced later in 2021.”

More information about the program and links to the EOI form is available here.

Telecommunication Services

During recent debate on an NBN infrastructure Bill, Rebekha took the opportunity to talk about the community's reliance on telecommunications, especially in a high bushfire risk area.

"Many people do not realise that the mobile phone network is not covered by the Universal Service Guarantee," Rebekha said.

"Even if it was, during an emergency batteries run out and infrastructure burns. However, there is more we can do to make our communications more resilient. We also need to do more to upgrade NBN technology in regional Australia."

You can read Rebekha's speech in full here and watch the speech on Youtube.

Adult Literacy Inquiry

The House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has launched an inquiry into adult literacy and its importance.

Rebekha is a member of the Committee and said many adult Australians had poor literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills and this could limit their ability to participate fully in employment, education and training, and social and civic life.

"The Committee is interested in hearing how measures to improve adult literacy can foster greater labour market participation, increased productivity, improved education outcomes for children, and improvements to individual and community well-being," Rebekha said.

Submissions to the inquiry close on Friday, 5 March 2021. Further details about upcoming public hearings will be available on the Committee’s website as the inquiry progresses.

'Rally As One' for Mount Torrens

The Mount Torrens Community is hosting a ‘Rally As One’ day on Sunday, February 21, at the Mount Torrens Oval.

This is an event that has been prompted by Tennis SA to support communities affected by the Black Summer bushfire at Cudlee Creek. The fundraiser is also a collaboration with the Festival Of the Hills event along the Amy Gillet Bikeway.

The day will include social tennis, children's tennis coaching, fundraisers for local Mt Torrens groups and a variety of activities put on by the local CFS, football club, Scouts group and local artists.

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