CWA Rooms Toallo St Pambula

Meeting commenced 4.32 pm

Attendance: Jack Gray, Peter Gorton, Mick Brosnan, Colin MacPherson, Jan Reynolds, Jon Webb, Tracy Fleming, Mick Pryke, Merril Ralfs, Carol Bartlett, Olwen Morris, Rohan, Jane Boughten Manning, Peter Gorton, John Liston, Denise Perry, Peter Reid, Russell Jennings, Wendy Wait.

Apologies: Dave Gallan,  Gavin Bell, Arlene Cassel, Simon Hoyle, Marianne Kamboridis, Jo Riley- Fitzer, Anne Wykes, Jeff Knowles, Wendy Gorton, Lucy Little, Jean Pollock, Roz Hansen.

Chair, Acknowledgement of Country

Let us pause to acknowledge and honour the true owners of the country on which we meet today

We, the Social Justice Advocates, understand that first Australian peoples should have a voice. We support the necessity to tell the truth about our shared histories.

To that end, two things.

First, the truly wise and wonderful Bruce Pascoe, has released a new book. Called Black Duck, it is a great read centered on his farm at gypsy point and the need for indigenous sovereignty over the production and sale of traditional foods. You can support Bruce and the black duck farm project by buying a copy. (SJA have assisted for a day on the farm in 2023.)

Second, local elder, BJ Cruse is seeking permission to address the United Nations, to speak about the abuses suffered by thousands of indigenous children, including many who were not stolen from their families but none the less suffered considerable abuse.

The SJA has pledged support to BJ, to help cover his travel costs should he be invited. We do this in the spirit of truth telling and are proud to support the voice on an international stage.

Secretary – correspondence sent and received  

Condolence card sent to former deputy chairperson Karen Gillespie after Partner Ian MacLeish recently passed away. Mick Brosnan elaborated on their work within SJA before moving back to South Australia.

Chair – moves that we accept that previous minutes have been circulated and posted on website.

Moved Peter Gorton

Accepted Wendy Wait

Treasurer’s report

Minutes Moved Peter Reid

Seconded Peter Gorton

Chair – sub-group reports have been circulated via email and after meeting on website posted. Asks if any sub-group convenors wish to address sub-group activities. 

  • Bega Valley Advocates For Timor-Leste     (Dave Gallan)
  • Youth Sub-Group                                         (Lucy Little)
  • Indigenous Affairs                                        (Olwen Morris)
  • Bega Group                                                  (Jan Reynolds)
  • Refugees / Multicultural                              (Gavin Bell)
  • Environment/Forces for Nature                   (Wendy Wait)
  • Housing and Homeless                                 (Mick Brosnan)

The following sub group conveners spoke:

Wendy Wait (Environment): we are seeking a t shirt coordinator. Email for further details. What can I do? How may I help?

Jack Gray (Acting Youth Convener): looking for renovators for space at grow the future Bega.  Date tbc 

Olwen Morris: (indigenous) Keen to pursue local Indigenous language. To contact Nathan Lygon.

Jan Reynolds: (Bega Sub Group) partnership with doctors without borders.

Msf sending two top staff on Friday 17 May to address pupils at our four high schools and also address a public meeting.

This free public meeting at the uniting church bega will also be a fundraising evening through donations and a raffle. A free supper will be provided.

Mick Brosnan: Bega Valley Disaster Relief Fund: SJA partner with council 100k+ in fund for next natural disaster. This is a perpetual fund. SJA Members Jan Midena, Naomi White, Mick Brosnan on committee. Https://

Food: SJA collect food Friday mornings in Merimbula to deliver to the ‘Garden of Eden’ project. We need more volunteers 2 hour each Friday for 1 month commitment. Involves a car, 2 people. Collect from Aldi Woolworths, Wild Ryes Pambula. What can I do? How may I help?

Thanked unit management committee: Shauna as coordinator. Anglicare work with SJA

Donations: 4 van donation in several months. Rotary club of Hall (ACT) donated 3 vans.

25 vans out tonight. (+ the vans still out in the 2020 fire grounds.)

Thank you to Lions Merimbula for assistance on numerous projects.

Mark Smith and Bill Foxwell are quiet achievers who have volunteered on many building projects.

May 6 Sapphire Bowling Club will have an event with proceeds generously donated to SJA.

Mick Pryke (Mumbulla Foundation): thanked SJA for support with funding applications.

Denis Perry:  spoke on youth initiatives hopes to connect with youth in other schools. With 42 years public teaching experience she discussed how public/private schools operate differently.

The rise in short term contracts has made it difficult for continuity /consistency.

Denise happy to meet with Lucy Little and work with her on ‘in school projects.

Other Business:

 Peter Gorton re efficiency audits

 Jeff Knowles (certified energy auditor) will conduct a monitoring energy efficiency in buildings weekend in Pambula May 24-25 – skills and knowledge. Training SJA members to do energy audits.

If interested email:

Guest speaker Jon Webb.   Pambula / Merimbula Lions Club. The SJA is delighted to take opportunities to work in harmony with other community groups with whom we share value sets.

Jon spoke about a major local community project named ‘MIRA’. That is, the multi-generational inclusive recreation area.

The project’s main aim is to create a free, safe, inclusive community space in Tura beach that is suitable for a variety of age groups, abilities, heritage and cultural backgrounds.

For further information

0437 596 648

Chair – general business   

 Certificates of Appreciation:

 Dreamcoat Theatre Company for again donating profits ( $20k ) from their fabulous production of Fiddler On The Roof , and for giving young folk an opportunity to participate in high level arts  initiatives in the Bega Valley. Dreamcoat is a long-time supporter of the SJA – have run four shows over past 8 years and have donated $60,000 overall.

SJA member Stuart Gyngell who has donated $1200 after completing a charity bike ride through the high country. 

Certificates for Bill Foxwell and Mark Smith who continue to work tirelessly on the construction / deconstruction of the SJA demountable units.

Executive meeting held February 27 resulted in a decision to run with, and fully support Lucy Little’s youth initiative strategy to continue to encourage young people to join in activities related to the SJA mission.

Lucy presented a comprehensive approach, which includes encouraging schools to support kids keen to get involved in community activities.

Lucy will report to the executive on progress.

SJA have secured an agreement with Mary Barker and James Cook, the owners of a plot of land in Auckland Street Bega. On their land, Callum Champagne runs his brilliant ‘Grow the Future’ program.

 James and Mary have agreed to allow SJA to use part of their infrastructure to house an office space / meeting space for the SJA youth group.

We thank Mary and James and will be presenting them with a SJA certificate of appreciation.

Executive decided to fast track the purchase of a laptop for the SJA Youth Initiatives convener to use.

SJA has agreed to auspice the Cobargo Community Development Corporation, a ‘not for profit’ initiative aimed at nurturing and enhancing the economic, social, and environmental sustainability and resilience of the village of Cobargo. Our auspicing will allow them to raise funds utilising the benefits of the SJA’s tax free deduction status.

Donations : SJA Regularly receive donations from many local business and individuals, large and small. SJA would like to acknowledge our sincere appreciation for ALL donations.

Next meeting Annual General Meeting   June 27    4.30 pm Cwa Rooms Pambula.

All positions declared vacant.

Nominations must be received to before 5 pm June 26.

Meeting closed 6.02 pm

Sub Group Reports

Bega Sub-Group

MSF (Doctors Without Borders) were contacted re expounding their mission and ongoing work in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

MSF sending two top staff on Friday 17 May to address pupils at our four high schools and also address a public meeting.

This free public meeting at the Uniting church Bega will also be a fundraising evening through donations and a raffle. A free supper will be provided.

Two ABC SE radio interviews are arranged for the week before the events. Also possibly SE commercial radio and local papers.

Lucy Little, recently engaged by SJA and Ross Williams are in contact with MSF and together are presently compiling promotional material.

Jan Reynolds (convener Bega sub group)

Bega Valley Advocates for Timor-Leste (SJASC)

April, 2024 Report
BVATL are pleased to report that Lizia Teofilo Sarmento has graduated after
completing her diploma teaching course and will now start her degree year.
Lizia typically comes from a poor farming background and the opportunity to
gain employment and help Timor develop safe, happy and successful
schooling experiences for young people is a very welcome one.

In case you missed it, the following report from Australian academic, Margie
Beck, at the Baucau Institute was received by BVATL earlier in the year:
“Dear Dave,
The results for Year 2, 3 and 4 have just come to me, so I am sending your
students’ GPA to you now. Also, will ensure that the office knows Lizia’s tuition fees
are already paid and that a receipt will be ready for her when she comes to ICFP
next. She starts her 3 month internship in Natarbora on Monday.
Olga Maria Lourenco GPA 3.42
Lizia – 3.45
Both results are great! Natarbora has sent some wonderful students.
Enjoy your weekend and as always, my gratitude to all who are so generous!”
Lizia was so happy at graduation and thanks donors for their support
The care and support from Margie is highly valued by all of us. She has
dedicated her life to the development of the Timorese schooling system.
We look forward to catching up with all our agriculture and teaching
graduates in July when a group of Advocate & SJA reps travel to Timor-Leste
in our first visit after the Covid pandemic. This will culminate in the 20th
Anniversary of the Friendship Agreement between Bega Valley Shire and
Barique-Natarbora communities.
While there we will also be visiting schools, women’s groups and remote
communities to view the recently installed water infrastructure and talk to the
young people who attended a camp where they learned how to care for
mountain springs with hand tools.
It will also be an opportunity to re-connect with the choir members who came
to Australia last year.
Typically, at this stage of the year BVATL finances are drawn low after
scholarship payments are made at the start of the year. They will rebuild
gradually throughout the year through donations and fundraising.
BVATL would like to again thank their fellow SJASC members who have
generously given their support and encouragement with our programs.
David Gallan

Housing and Homelessness Sub-Group

Hi folks ,

I hope you are all well and enjoying life to the fullest.

Find here a photograph of the latest caravan donated to the SJA . $6,600 .

This the third van donated this year with the one in January $11,000.

As you gather caravans still dominate our efforts to help the homeless in
our shire .

With no real advance with the shire council around our crisis transitional caravan units , we are now seeking advice from both our solicitor and a barrister.
Again I thank Roz Hansen for all her most generous time , effort and expertise .

We have been working most recently to complete unit four at the reflections caravan park in Pambula .
This our fifth at the park and has taken some negotiations to bring to fruition.
Units eight and Four ( based on park site numbers ) will be shorter term occupancy of ninety days max . ( 2 x 45 day stays )
Reflections management claims to  be continuing to organise its licence for more permanent long term sites at Pambula .

Our management committee with the guidance of Shauna will nominate and allocate these units as they become vacant .
I thank all members of our management committee for their considered deliberations and support for the community through our program.
Note that all the other six are occupied.

We have sold two caravans in the last two months .
One to a young man with an apprenticeship in Eden who is determined to make his way .
The other to a single mum with serious family difficulties at the moment but equally determined to move forward .

Our main concerns are
The upcoming review of State legislation based around caravan parks , moveable dwellings and manufactured homes .
The resolving of the impasse that is hampering our ability to purchase more crisis transitional caravan units to ensure that those at the greatest risk of homelessness are given some dignity as they sort through the nearly impossible rental market .

Take care all

Refugee and Multicultural Sub-Group

Medieval Festival

We had a great response for the Festival held on Sunday February 11th, in combination with the Pambula Rotary Market. We can only guess, but we suspect the gathering brought in an addition 200 or more people. Pambula Rotary were just delighted with the turnout on a beautiful February morning.

There were so many families, even with the kids in costume, shields and swords to be painted and real sword fights which the crowd loved.

A big thank you to Mick B and Robyn Mc for your help with the stalls. Also a great thanks to Shannon and Reg for your organisational skills and to each of the other 10 stall holders for making this a wonderful day.

There is a talk of a repeat in August including groups attending from other areas such a Canberra, Wollongong and Victoria. I am waiting to hear from the Medieval groups with that one.

Celebration of Women in our Community

Sunday May 12th, 2024, Mother’s Day, we are holing a similar event where we come out and celebrate all women in our community. Flyer attached.

We have received a great response from may groups and I will spend the next month following up on groups yet to commit. It will be just a great day of celebration, games and a whole lot of fun.

MARSS Visit from Canberra

I have been contacted by Andrew from MARSS in Canberra again and they are very keen to have a Far South Coast weekend holiday in late November this year. We have to pin down the actual dates, but what a great way to bring in summer.

Watch this space.

Tuesday Morning Teas with Cayce and Bega Multicultural Centre A big thank you to any members supporting Cayce Hill and crew on a Tuesday morning. This a great meeting point at the CWA Rooms in Pambula 10am to midday each Tuesday. All welcome.

Environment Sub-Group


  • Ongoing support for SJA fundraising:
    *Thanks Michelle Pettigrove for selling the remaining Koko Maia clothes and all proceed going to SJASC

*SJASC coffee: Thanks Sue McGee for continuing to collect the last of the money raised.

*Jayne Broughton Manning continues to coordinate the SJASC donation tins located around the shire

  • Support for the Bob Brown Foundation: March in March for forests and end to native forest logging. Banner making, support to local organiser, promotion at Cobargo Folk festival, emails, messenger and local social networks
  • Ongoing Solar meetings with Janine Hougton Jean Pollock, Steve Garret( Pyramid Power), Lindsay McPherson, Gavin Bell, Peter Reid and Mick Brosnan
  • Ongoing support for SJASC youth members: Mentorship, ideas, meetings, forum attendance, advertising:                                                                                                                               Meetings: Bianca Bellicanta lunch and introduction to “The Bush and Us’ program she is coordinating this year.  Meetings with Callum Champayne and Mary and James up in Bega; Grow the Future to formulate an agreement and organise a work/ office space for Lucy Little( SJASC Youth Coordinator)and a home/ space ultimately for Juliet Fontaine and Niamh Occleshaw op-cyle shop and meeting place for young people                                                                                                                                        
  • SJASC Renewable Energy Project: Ongoing Solar meetings, webinars: Janine Houghton, Jean Pollock, Steve Garret(Pyramid Power), Lindsay McPherson (Essential Energy) Gavin Bell, Peter Reid and Mick Brosnan
  • Working bees:

* Bega Women’s Resource centre: Cleaning out the back yard and shed. Saturday 17th February

* Advertising, support for Potoroo Palace lantana removal Monday April 8th

* Friends of Potoroo Palace: Saturday 20th April: Thanks Ann and Mick for coordinating this working bee

  • Liaise with other climate, environment groups: Advertising, online petitions, webinars, meetings:

  , Grow the Future The Crossing Land Education centre:Dean and Annette Turner

          Garry Hunter: Clean Curalo, Green Peace,Climate Council, Labour and Greens party

          Coastal Zombie Development webinar: Nature Conservation Council and Coastal Residence Alliance: Wednesday 12th April  

  • Grants: Support Marianne Kambouridis application to BVSC: cat education, impacts on wildlife and catios enclosures

SJASC Tee shirt: research, purchase and print: Looking for a volunteer to coordinate SJASC tee shirts?

Indigenous Issues Sub-Group

Report  from SJASC Indigenous Issues Group for meeting 11 April 2024

Excellent meeting of SJASC Indigenous Issues Group including report from Karen Tarpey on the Reconciliation and Truth-telling event at Kamay/Botany Bay attended by Uncle Ossie Cruse and BJ. Shout out to Karen who is one of our most hard-working members, attending and assisting at Indigenous events whenever she can. The restorative Truth-telling initiative came out of extensive consultation over 26 years with more than 100 First nations communities of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders who asserted that Truth-telling holds the highest priority when addressing colonisation. The day was held at Kamay/Botany Bay being the place where Cook landed and instigated the long process of colonisation. The Endeavour records were exposed in the words of people who arrived on the ships. Three acts of wrong-doing were publicly proclaimed at the end of which everyone stood and spoke in an act of unification. There were many speakers telling their stories, including members of the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council who told of the devastation wrought on their tribal lands following colonisation. Even though the event catered for 1000 unfortunately only around 200 attended, most of which were non-indigenous people. Karen suggested this may have been because tickets were $45 which may have discouraged many Aboriginal people. No politicians were evident. I have attached some documents that Karen brought home. It was suggested that we hold something similar on Yuin land – a major project in conjunction with local Aboriginal groups.

Also Lucy Little, Convenor of the SJASC Youth Group, gave a showing of her filmed Interview with Uncle Ossie at Jigamy.

Guest speaker Cathie Muller, leader of the Gulaga Reconciliation Group, spoke about her group and its response to the result of the referendum. Cathie Muller has led the Gulaga Reconciliation Group (GRG)for the last 8 years. In 2016 she organised a meeting to reflect on Sorry day. 40 people attended and the outcome was people felt the need to learn more about Aboriginal history and be more truthful. Aunty Iris White was enthusiastic about the idea but recommended looking at NAIDOC for ideas to celebrate Aboriginal culture. She also felt it was important to stay local as Aboriginal people identify strongly with their cultural groups so you have grass roots input.

The vision statement for the GRG is ‘We aim to create opportunities for cross-cultural understanding in relationships’. No judgements or fault-finding are made, simply create opportunity for better understanding. For truth-telling to happen we want people to listen. The group operates on a shoestring with minimal funding from Eurobodalla Shire Council, Chamber of Commerce and Bermagui Country Club, but funding is becoming more difficult.

To help create relationships with the local community Carole studied Dhurga language and was able to incorporate words in various events. Use of language to show respect is a positive step towards creating friendly relationships. Also printed posters showing vision statement and major events posted around meeting hall & cafes, and poster for display on information table during Yes campaign to show what the group does. While acknowledging the Yes campaign the group focused on always being present, always inviting, always approachable and always listening, rather than imposing views on people. This built trust between white  & Aboriginal communities.

After the result of the referendum everyone was devastated, grieving but now the Aboriginal communities are showing resilience. Aunty Deirdre Martin from Bomaderry said ‘We do not fight racism with racism. We say No’. Now the group is in nurture mode & applied for a wellness grant of $500 from Eurobodalla Council to run a cultural workshop thinking about where to go from here. Need time to rethink, return to basics, stay tuned to local communities & walk with them. Relationships have been built with the LALCs and the Gulaga & Biamanga Boards of Management, the only National Parks in the State jointly run by Traditional Owners and National Parks. Also various other Aboriginal organisations including Yuin Pre-school, Katungal Health and individuals such as Bunja Smith and Ros Fields from La Perouse, Chair of Gulaga Board of Management.

Some good ideas to follow up for our group to move forward with truth-telling.

Since the meeting I have written a letter of support for grant application ‘Aboriginal Food, Sustainable Futures’ project for Black Duck Foods following request from Bettina Richter.

Olwen Morris