MINUTES SJASC Meeting 23rd November 2023 CWA HALL at 4:30pm

PRESENT: Ann Wykes, Suzanne Pointon(new),Tracy Fleming (new), Sharam Saber (new), Jon Webb(new), Edwin Kelly, Helene Garrett, Jo Riley-Fitzer, Denise Perry, Olwen Morris, ,Pete Gorton, Peter Reid, Gavin Bell, Mick Brosnan, Sue McGee, Sue Chancellor(new), Dave Gallan,  John Liston, Chris Tynan, Ray Tynan, Roz Hanfen, Robin McPherson, Col McPherson

APOLOGIES: Wendy Wait, Russell Jennings, Wendy Gorton, Jan Reynolds, Patricia McDonald

New members invited to introduce themselves

Minutes of meeting of 14/9 to be accepted. MOVED Helene Garrett SECOND Edwin Kelley

Treasurers Report: Read by Peter Gorton (on email)

Subgroup Reports tabled as sent on email

Refugee subgroup: Gavin’s comments

1) Gavin thanked everyone who contributed in any way to the refugee weekend with a special thanks to Ray Tennerman for subsidising accommodation for a group of 8 refugees.
2) Special thanks to Snowy Hydro partner who donated $500 earned from recycling plastic bottles.

Timor Leste and L2L : comments by Dave Gallan

1) 20th anniversary of Timor Leste independence to be celebrated by inviting Australian choirs to go to Timor Leste for celebrations
2) Education assistance continuing with Yr3 and Yr4 Diploma of Education
3) Education in permaculture going to be part of celebration activities
4) No huts at Hegarty Bay and maybe no huts on L2L Walk at all

Indigenous Olwen Morris spoke

Main sentiment is that we must walk softly, softly with aboriginal communities. Let community come to us.
Cathy Miller coming down on 30th November to discuss her experience with Reconciliation

Homeless Mick B spoke

  • 21st caravan allocated. Looking for sites for vans over Christmas. 
  • Council meeting 13th December to discuss units at Uniting Church. Need numbers to attend in blue shirts. Need speakers from 12 midday, 5 minutes per person. Council is actively trying to dissuade people from helping eg CEFE putting solar panels on roof of church.
  • Unit purchased from Ian Ritchie to go on Reflections site on 21st January
  • DCJ (Department of Community & Justice) take 3,4 or even 6 months to turn over accommodation units. Kylie Furnell who heads the management committee turn around the accommodation units in about a week. CONGRATULATIONS

Youth Group Peter Reid spoke.

  • Congratulated the Youth Group of their great work at Parliament House. He stressed that the role of the more senior members is to mentor not direct activities. 
  • Congratulated the members of Lumen Christi SJA group on their assistance on the refugee day.

GUEST SPEAKER: Sharon Champagne

Explained her ongoing connections with Timor  Leste especially the Permaculture youth project.

Ongoing work at Cisarua , Indonesia which is a refugee community that has been stranded when the boats to Australia were stopped. Spoke of the film “The Staging Post” which documents the community at Cisarua. The Hazara , Afghani refugees wanted to provide an education for their children to give them hope for the future. Sharon helped them establish a school and the Hazara are the main teachers. Online teaching began 4 years ago. Laptops are essential for the online teaching and for the students to be prepared when they go to Jakarta for exams. Laptops must be purchased in Indonesia by law.

SJA meeting voted unanimously to donate $5000 for purchase of laptops. Gavin Bell to follow up.


Attention brought to the fact that 60 homeless are housed by SJA every night

1) SJA concert at Longstocking  November 26th
2) Pambula Rotary & SJA combined project preparing and selling meals of Paella  Tuesday January 2,9,16 and 23 at Discovery Pambula Beach caravan Park. Help needed 3 to 5:30 for preparation, 5:15 to 7pm for serving and cleanup. Roster is currently filled @8/12/23.
For further information email  Gavin Bell     gabell@gmail.com
Hope to raise $15,000 to $20,000
3) Medieval festival at Pambula Markets on 2nd Sunday in February
4) Success of fundraiser by CEFE for solar panels on Uniting Church. Raised $15000 including donations.

  • Attention that due to declining resources Rotary, Lions, SJA need to partner up
  • Pambula Vibe 15/12/23 : there will be a SJA stall for info evening.
  • Fiddler on the Roof: shows last two weekends  in January. Will need volunteers to show people to their seats

NEXT MEETING February 1st at 4:30pm


Sub-Group Reports

Indigenous Issue Group

Up until 14 October all meetings of SJASC Indigenous Issues group were focused on the Referendum.

  • 2 November meeting held following referendum. Depressing outcome but vowed to move forward with Truth-telling & Justice for local Aboriginal communities and national issues eg Closing the Gap etc. Peter Reid formally thanked all members & volunteers who worked on campaign.
  • Suggestions for moving forward with Truth-telling were collecting local stories from Aboriginal & settler sides of the debate.
  • Any future action must come from communities and it is contingent on us listening and being led by them.

Olwen Morris

Timor Leste Report

Plans are underway for the 20th Anniversary celebrations in Natarbora, Timor-Leste next year. The communities there are looking forward to catching up.

Dave Crowden and Ego Lemos have canvassed for expressions of interest in choirs visiting TL from Australia next year. We are liaising with the Solidarity (Union) choir who will also link up with the union NGO APEDA in Dili.

The film didn’t go ahead due to poor ticket sales – next year we hope to screen..

2 new scholarships for 2024 (4th year degree & Year 1 teacher training).

An update on next years big event in Timor Leste:
The dates are International Permaculture Youth Convergence 26th – 29th August in Dare , an outer suburb of Dili.
The theme for the Convergence is Music and Culture. It is hoped that all international choirs and groups will provide several workshops and performances, over the four days.
This will be followed by a Cultural Festival in Dili on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st
This will allow international choirs and groups to perform at select venues in Dili .

It’s time now to confirm whether you wish to be part of this event by replying to me and ego.lemos72@gmail.com .”

Other sub group news:

Thanks to SJA & CEFE for a successful fund raising for the solar panels on Bega Uniting. Much appreciated!

Talleganda & Flat Rock SF actions, photos and stops rock orders.

Regarding the Light to Light Walk at GreenCape, no huts to be build at Hegarty’s Bay – now at Bittangabee if funds allow. A great win for the community.

Social Justice Advocates Environment Report – November 2023

  • Support and Mentorship for Youth Initiative group: Attending meetings and support during the CrunchTime trip to Parliament House, Sydney
  • Invited and Attended AGM Potoroo Palace: 28th September
  • WASTE Warrior at Wanderer festival to see how the new initiatives with the Green Team occurred. B–alternative group were brilliant. All plates, utensils and cups were washed and returned to vendors. Biggest waste was cardboard boxes, cable ties, plastic cups for water, vendor waste. There was still a substantial amount of waste but probably halved by using the b- alternative reuse policy. Wrote to Hugh Pitty and festival Director with suggestions to improve this.
  • Support Youth Climate Action group: Ideas and mentorship as required
  • Waste at SJA festival: Coordinated meetings with Oakland’s and Longstocking Brewery and waste crew to determine how we could reduce waste at SJA November festival. Thanks Joey and Pete and Angela for supporting us in reducing waste. Dave Crowden is again taking the pizza boxes to be reused as mulch on his farm (thanks Dave), organic food waste will have its own bucket at the festival and be given to chook owners, cans will go in yellow bins. Melamine plates (sourced from Candelo Arts Society) will be used and washed by Oaklands staff. Patrons will be asked to keep their plastic cup and return it for refill, greatly reducing plastic waste reaching landfill. Sue and Martin McGee will co-ordinate the waste, including Geoff and Jayne at the festival. Thanks for taking this coordination and work on in my absence.
  • Became a shop attendant for a day at Koko Maia’s fabulous SJA fundraiser where we raised over 7,500 dollars from Karen Grindrod’s incredible generosity by selling her gorgeous remaining stock. Thanks to Sue McGee and Kerryn Granger for your support on the day. 
  • Karen Grindrod then generously gave the Youth Initiative group the remaining unsold items to be repurposed and sold on at their up and coming op shops.
  • Janine Houghton has been busy writing emails to stake holders seeking their support for our proposed Pambula community battery. She has received many emails of support and we are excited to see where to next.

Wendy Wait
SJA Environment Convenor

Housing/Homelessness Nov 2023

Hi folks. 

A brief overview:

* we have now employed a management committee facilitator.

Welcome Shauna, we hope you enjoy working with the SJA housing homeless group and find it very rewarding.
Shauna Enoka has now been employed and established her office in Canning st Bega. 
Her first management committee meeting next Tuesday 23rd. 
Huge thanks to Sara Williams for organising this appointment and to Kylie Furnell a huge thank you for all you have done to set up this whole committee structure. 

* we are sleeping about 58 People in 20 caravans and our six caravan crisis units at the time of writing.

Continued requests and movement of vans with the service providers.
Mission Australia, SEWACS Youth, Wellways, Cambell Page, Department of Community Services – DCJ, Sapphire Neighbourhood Services, 
Next (21st van ) on Tuesday 23 RD to Eden . 

* continued fabulous, practical caravan work from Mark Smith and Bill Foxwell- 
Thanks guys from all SJA members and our community .

* We face the task of placing vans that are in caravan parks as they are forced to move on during the peak Christmas period. 

* we have been given the date of the 22nd of January 2024 for the establishment of the fourth and fifth crisis caravan units at the Reflections caravan park in Pambula . That will be eight in total of these crisis caravan units.
Help will be sought for this exciting work – remember please  this is community supporting community.

* NOTE  this community element is demonstrated by the upcoming annual fund raising concert 

Longstocking 3 to 8 pm on Sunday 26 th November 
Tickets still available for fantastic local artists raising more funds to support our practical crisis housing actions.
## Thanks to all members who have offered to help at this massive event . 

* as per the recent post, furniture distribution and support continues on a very regular basis. Yes the old truck still does the job !!!!!!!!!

* we have had another caravan DONATED from a fire ground property AND 
another third caravan is being DONATED from the Rotary Club of Hall. This latter unit being refurbished prior to delivery.

* we continue to advocate for our moveable dwellings / caravan crisis transitional units as being eligible for use in our shire as a caravan. This is occupying considerable time.
Please read the news from the Victorian Government— real practical action, linked below.

* we have conducted an interview with WIN news to extend our advocacy and continue to write to other media .


On December the 23rd the council, through the Director of Planning, is to produce a report on our crisis housing transitional caravan units.
I invite ALL MEMBERS and friends / supporters to try to attend this council meeting – blue shirt event at the council chambers in the Bega Civic Centre.
This report has been delayed to this last December council meeting following a meeting at council on 25th August (10 weeks later) at which Roz Hansen, Ian Richie and myself lobbied again for some common sense PATHWAY to be developed to help our homeless.
We again referred to expert legal advice and Service NSW evidence in support of our crisis caravan units / moveable dwellings.
Please come to this council meeting to support our advocacy for a very effective, cost efficient, practical, immediate , pathway for transitional accommodation for the homeless . 
I would love to have 50 blue shirts !!!!!!!


This article provided by Roz Hansen, a really practical Pathway to providing accommodation.


Migrants / Refugees Sub Group

Nov Meeting 2023

  • Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) weekend visit Nov 9 to Nov 12, 2023
    47 Guests from Cabberra, 12 families mainly from Afghanistan, also Iraq, El Salvador, South America, Congo
    11 Host families and one apartment rented
    School visits to Wolumla PS and Lumen Christi CC

Saturday Swim at Pambula Beach cancelled due to Beach Closure, BBQ held at Pamb Rec Reserves with a Welcome to Country, meals cooked by guests on Saturday night

  • Sunday at Pambula Rotary Markets including a great concert organised by Andy Zarins of Candelo
  • Families departed on Sunday at 1.15pm

Recruitment of Bus Drivers for the Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care Facilities (SCCAC)

Attempting to recruit volunteer bus drivers for the Aged Care Facilities for a resident excursion each Wednesday and a monthly outing for the Migrant workers in the facilities.
Koola Koulis, Operations Manager at Bega is co-ordinating the various permits and roster, more volunteers welcome

  • Engagement with Bega Multicultural Centre (BMC) to assist local migrants

I have emailed both Yvi Henderson and Cayce Hill of Cooma and Bega Multicultural Migrant Centres to ask hat we be involved in their activities. We have a base group of Migrant on the Sapphire Coast as well as individuals arriving each week and more staff to be moving here through the Aged Care

  • Facilities and The Snowy Hydro Scheme.

We have already assisted with furniture via the Bega Rotary Club but there will also be a need for a range of social activities including friendships, craft, gardening, cooking, English assistance and shopping etc.

  • Increased Contacts

New contacts have been made with Andy Zarins (Latvia) and his wife (Ukraine), James Parker Bega District News as well as other contacts / networks of theirs. Potential Medieval Festival as part of the Feb 2024 Pambula Markets.

Youth Climate Action Group

Group Activity During 2023:
Written by Toby Jennings

  • Black Duck Foods Working Bee:

In Late October the SJA Youth Climate Action Group (YCAG) attended a working bee down near Genoa in Victoria, at the Black Duck Foods Farm and Plant Nursery. The day involved volunteering to assist Chris and the Black Duck Foods team to plant out some Chocolate and Vanilla Lillies (a native tuber growing plant) on the property. We had a beautiful lunch overlooking the upper reaches of Mallacoota Lake Estuary system. Then weeded some garden beds and learned about the processes of turning native grain such as black wattle, into a flour used for cooking in dishes like lasagne, and ‘Johnny Cakes’. 

  • Potaroo Palace Working Bees:

Over the course of 2023, the YCAG has attended multiple working bees supporting both the Forces for Nature SJA sub-group, and independently as the YCAG, to assist Potaroo Palace with improving their native animal sanctuary. The most rewarding project that we completed for Potaroo Palace was to landscape and create a new picnic area (under the guidance of Mick Brosnan), and with the help of the Pambula Men’s shed to construct the picnic tables.

  • Hiking Meetups:

A new activity for the YCAG, that have been a result of growing interest in some of our members, are hiking day trips. In 2023 the YCAG completed 2 hiking trip day trip meetups – One at the Kangarutha Track near Tathra, and one at Marunna Point (near Camel Rock) in Bermagui. These hiking trips gave members the opportunity to connect with other like-minded, young people and explore the beautiful areas that we live in. These trips often concluded with a swim in the ocean!

  • Surfing Meetup:

In 2023, the YCAG met together once at Pambula Beach for a morning surfing meetup. This gave members the opportunity to learn a new sport/hobby, connect with like-minded, young people and connect with the beautiful environment and Ocean that we live nearby. Everyone was very supportive of each other, and we all had a great time!

  • Weekly Rubbish Cleanups:

A regular activity of the YCAG has been to meet up every Tuesday at 4pm for a rubbish cleanup often at local beaches. This activity provided both a social outlet, and an act of community service for the members of our group. We cleaned locations including Bar Beach Merimbula, Ford Oval Merimbula, Lions Park in Pambula Beach, and Pambula River mouth.

  • SECLAG Involvement and Meeting Attendances

A new collaboration for some of our YCAG members has been with the newly formed ‘South-East Community Litter Action Group’ (SECLAG). SECLAG have been meeting regularly to tackle the problem of litter/rubbish in the Bega Valley. One of the meetings involved BVSC Waste Manager Tim Cooke at Tura Marrang Library. This collaboration with SECLAG is ongoing and we’re excited to continue working with them to tackle litter issues within our community.

  • ‘Bush and Us’ Youth Forum:

Another collaboration for the YCAG has been with the ‘Bush and Us’ – founded by one of our members. The YCAG worked with the Bush and Us to hold a youth forum/information gathering morning at Panboola Wetlands. The forum aimed to gather information from young people in the Bega Valley about what changes to the education system needed to be made, and what role the Bush and Us could play in providing a supplementary alternative education program to the existing education system. The forum concluded with attendees enjoying delicious Norwegian waffles.