The Minutes of the 2022 AGM can be found here.

MINUTES of AGM of Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast

DATE:   13th July 2023. 

PLACE: CWA Rooms Toalla Street Pambula

PRESENT: Mick Brosnan, Gavin Bell, Peter Reid, Ann Wykes, Pam & Peter Skelton, Robin & Col McPherson, Mick Pryke, Penny, Susan McGee, Wendy Gorton, Pete Gorton, Jean Pollock, David Crowden, Celia Farquhanson, Dianne Beckett, John Liston, Peter Buggy, Christine Welch, Hugo White, Naomi White, Olwen Morris, Edwin & Myoshin Kelley, Helene Garrett, Jack Downey, David Gallan, Kylie Furnell, Denise Perry, Jo Riley-Fitzer

APOLOGIES: Chris Ralf, Celia Kennedy, Wendy Wait, Russell Jennings, Jane Boughton Manning, Kate Liston, Mahlia  McPherson, Janine HK

Meeting Commenced: 7:18pm

Acknowledgement of Country: Mick Brosnan

MINUTES  of Last AGM Move to Accept: Kylie Furnel
                                         Second:Dianne Beckett  ALL IN FAVOUR

CHAIRPERSON REPORTS: Gavin Bell and Mick Brosnan – see below.

TREASURERS REPORT: Peter Reid. Accolades to Robyn Moralis

                                        Move to Accept Treasurers Report: Peter Reid
                                        Second: Gavin Bell. ALL IN FAVOUR

CONVENORS REPORTS Move to Accept all Reports: Gavin Bell
                                         Second Peter Reid ALL IN FAVOUR


Peter Skelton is Presiding Officer for the elections


 CHAIRPERSON: Peter Reid nominated by Mick Brosnan, Second Olwyn Morris   Peter accepts nomination. ALL IN FAVOUR

 DEPUTY CHAIR: Ann Wykes nominated by Mick Brosnan, Second Peter Gorton , Accepted by Ann ALL IN FAVOUR

TREASURER Peter Gorton nominated by Mick Brosnan, Second Dianne Beckett. Peter G accepts. ALL IN FAVOUR

SECRETARY: Russell Jennings nominated by Peter G, Second Hugo White Russell accepts (in absentia) ALL IN FAVOUR


CONVENORS: All carrying on

AGM finishes 8pm

BREAK FOR SUPPER Thanks to Wild Rye for supplying a huge carrot cake

GENERAL MEETING commences 8:15 pm

Peter Reid gives summary of history of SJA FINISHING WITH WHAT CAN I DO? HOW CAN I HELP?

MOVE to accept minutes from previous meeting Peter Gorton, SECOND Peter Reid 

Subgroup Reports all online

TIMOR LESTE : David Gallan informed the meeting that they will show the film Circle of Silence about the journalists in Timor Leste shortly. A big thankyou to David Crowden for his huge effort with the Timor Leste choir.

YOUTH SJA: Acknowledgement of work of Jacob Shields success with CRUNCH and other members of the youth group. Talk of difficulty maintaining a youth group as they move away. 

INDIGENOUS: Olwyn stated their efforts will be focused on the YES campaign

BEGA GROUP: Jo RF acknowledged all the work that Ross put into the group

YES campaign: Peter R congratulated Jo RF on her great work organising the launch of the YES23 campaign at Candelo market.

REFUGEE GROUP Gavin will send emails out shortly about taking part in the refugee visit on 9th to 12thNovember

HOUSING:MB  Next meeting at Bega Uniting Church at 5pm next Wednesday. Thankyou Letter tabled from a recipient of a caravan after the fires. Thankyou to great job Kylie Furnell does managing SJA rental properties. Transition of tenants has been a great success & changed their lives.

General Business Peter Gorton moved motion  to organise credit card for purchase of fuel for SJA vehicle. Second Peter Reid ALL IN FAVOUR


  • Wanderer Festival September 29 – Stall
  • CEFE /SJA   October – Music Fundraiser Solar Bega
  • MARSS    November 9-12   Refugee Hosting
  • Giiyong Festival November 18 – Stall
  • Oaklands November 26 Music Festival ‘It’s up to Us’

Next Meeting September 14th

Close 8:40pm

Gavin Bell, Co Chair report for the AGM
July 11, 2023 for the year 2023

In stepping down from my position of Co Chair of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast Inc. I would like to present the following dot points to summarise my 2 year term.

Bega Group
 Great fundraising efforts to raise money for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
 Co-ordination with the Uniting Church to establish the Transportable Homes
 Thanks to Jan for stepping into the BV Disaster Relief Committee
 Thanks to Ross for being the Convenor and looking forward to working with Jan Reynolds

Forces for Nature
 Great efforts continuing with the Solar Group Buy
 Support for Potoroo Palace
 Single Use Plastics
 Sustainability Festival
 Reaching out to Black Duck enterprises at Wallagaurah
 Franklin River Film

Housing / Homeless
 Amazing results – 18 Homeless Caravans, 6 Units, 75 Bushfire Caravans
 Advocacy to Council, State and Federal Govts
 Tireless efforts on Mick’s behalf plus some helpers
 Grant received for Ford Ranger ($50k)
 Grant applied for Employee to support the Administration of the program ($72.4k)
 It’s Up to Us Fund raising about $400k in just on 2 years with zero Govt Support.
 The amazing work done by Mark and Bill, Mick’s Plumber offsiders
 Collaboration with Mission Australia, SEWACS, Dave Crowden and Ken Vatcher in helping us raise money for”It’s Up To Us”
 Za’s Coffe, Wild Rye and others that raise money for us

 Representation to Federal Govt
 Practical completion of Youthland
 Continued support for Ozzie Cruse
 Some Assistance to Eden Canoes Program
 Advocacy for minimum age incarceration, closing the gap
 YES23 Campaign
 Thanks so much to Ray Tynan for leading this group

Migrants and Refugees
 Assist Bega Multicultural Centre with the Multicultural Festival
 Assist Bega Rotary provide furniture for the Aged Care employees
 MARSS Refugee visit
 Support for Ukraine migrants
 Exploration of opportunities with the Red Cross Asylum Seekers and Migrants
 Collaboration with Rotary Pambula and Merimbula and the many businesses and groups such as the Pambula Beach Life Saving Club, Pambula Fruit Market, Wild Rye etc that support us.

Timor Leste’
 Ongoing support with Coffee Sales for Teacher Training
 Support for the hugely successful Timor Leste choir visit
 Moral and other support for Dave Gallan and Dave Crowden with ongoing activities

Youth Group
 Representation to Federal Govt
 Support for Crunch Australia initiative
 Assistance with the “Bush and Us” program run by Jacob – New Youth Mental Health Radio show and Podcast called Talking Feelings being the first project
 Connection with Bega Valley Shire Council through the Community Development team
 Potential for funding a part time Youth Coordinator
 Potential for collaboration with Lions Club – John and Tracy

 Firstly I would like to thank Mick Brosnan and the Executive for the countless hours of volunteer work, and in Mick’s case, the many cups of coffee spent discussing any number of proposals, plans, issues to be resolved with zero points of disagreement or heartache, but lots of laughs
 Also our bookkeeper Robyn Moralis, for the great job she has done
 Thanks to Peter Reid for the amazing work he did in putting together the succession planning tools and the documentation of the processes
 To the incoming executive for taking on your roles and anyone else I have forgotten, thank you.
 Personally it has been a very rewarding and pleasant experience working in the is amazing organisation and I look forward to it’s evolution as we continue to make huge differences in the Community’s day to day workings, but also the Community’s mindset that we can all make a difference.
Gavin Bell, Ex Co Chair.

Mick Brosnan, Co Chair report July 13 2023 

Well folks –
What a fabulous year 2022/23 has been and with so much happening in the coming year it is all so very exciting for our community .
Way too many elements of our advocacy to chat about so I intend to pick some elements that reflect who we are .
Perhaps Peter Reid will share some of the background activities that I have published during the last weeks of transition .

 Highlights for me over the many years have been
*The  association with and then the amalgamation with the BVTL .Thanks again to Dave Gallan .
*The development of the BVCDRF esp given this was born through the MOU in the middle of the fires on Jan 19 th 2020 .
Both demonstrate the impact and benefits of partnership.

The YES 23 campaign is now alive and I urge all to join this massive once in a life time advocacy. A part of the Indigenous Issues group activities since 2017 , it is vital for our shire and our country that this referendum succeeds .
Whilst on this , I offer a heartfelt thanks  to Ray Tynan and Chris for all they have done and continue to do for our community .
They epitomise the values and actions of community and our SJA.
A huge thanks to Olwen Morris for taking over at such a crucial time . 

YOUTHLAND is reborn at last .
A board meeting has been held July 4 th that is re establishing this fabulous initiative and dream of our elder Ossie Cruse .
SJA has contributed for many years to develop this community’s camp.
Financial and physical practical support and partnering with Rotary Club of Pambula ; vital support from Mark Smith and Bill Foxwell. 
Watch this space for calls for actions to support our youth at this camp .

YOUTH, following eight years of activities in the four secondary schools and support through our arts grant following the Dreamcoat production of Joseph , the Lumen SJA group and other secondary school initiatives proliferate thanks to BOTH students and staff . 
An SJA youth sub group has now been established with the added support of an FRRR grant to have a casual youth worker for two days a week .
A youth team has been meeting and some are away with CRUNCH TIme Australia discussing climate AND trying to empower the young folks they will  meet .
This simultaneously while the work of the young people such as Zoe , Toby and Heath at Potoroo and elsewhere who for some years have been involved.
Thanks to the awesome mentorship of Wendy Wait .

The solar / battery pilot initiative of two newer members from within the Climate sub group is simply superb and at the pointy end of alternative energy developments for communities .
Thank you and welcome to Janine and Jeanne .
We will hear much more about this very soon .
We have solar power also being installed on the roof of the Uniting Church in Bega which will help to mitigate costs of our three caravan crisis units and work in favour of our environment.
Thanks to ALL involved and esp to CEFE and Prue Kelly with whom we are partnering in the fund raising and whole venture .

PARTNERSHIPS as above are critical and the sustainable way to impact more broadly esp given the dearth of Human Resources in our community.

The defibrillator for the Pambula Beach store at Aqua is an example of our responding to needs efficiently and quickly . 

The SJA loan to the Eden canoes project is another such example where we have responded very positively .
A superb project and now one such canoe is an emblem for our shire YES 23 campaign.

Bega cheese for Youthland ,
NSW govt for our car
FRRR for our youth support worker 
CEF for our caravan unit management committee support worker – likely .
#We move forward whilst still retaining our complete independence .

We have been AUSPICING so as to directly support the work of other community groups . Often short term but very effective .
* MinderooFoundation – sound stage ( ended ) 
    * Bega Farm appeal to help a local family.( ended ) 
    * Bega LALC with a holiday programme.( ended );
    * CoCO develop a community enterprise to support a social enterprise at the Corallo Medical Centre 
    *YES 23 grant for an indigenous speaker through the Australian Communities Foundation.
    *Mumbulla Foundation grant for developing community donations.
     #A different type of advocacy and collaboration that is very effective .

This list goes on and ….

But it is the MEMBERS that make this charity work so effective .
As with the response to the fire disaster and other disasters it is the human contact and interactions that make the difference.
In every SUB GROUP,  different members drive advocacy in real and  tangible ways.
These sub groups are being so responsive and hence active and effective .

I would like to thank Ross Williams for his tireless work with both the Refugee sub group and through the Bega sub branch for so many years .
Both groups bring so much passion , awareness and support to our communities.
Fabulous work Ross and I know you will still be involved and pushing forward more initiatives.

Thanks to Gavin for stepping up to convene the Refugee and Asylum Seeker sub group . Look out folks and watch this space.
Similar huge thanks to Jan Reynolds who has agreed to step up and fill  the need left by Ross .
Again Janet we can all look forward to exciting advocacy based on your long time experiences in the community.

Thanks to all the executive team and convenors who have guided and lead the groups to become relevant and active in our community .
Special thanks to Robyn Morillas our bookkeeper who has again been simply magnificent . Our auditor has again taken the time to comment on this efficient work .

Thanks especially to the “ newbies “ Peter Reid ,Anne Wykes and Russell Jennings who stepped up in 21/22 into what they thought was a void .
They have filled the void magnificently.

Pete , a special thanks for agreeing to be plan B after initiating and developing a chair and executive transition plan .
You will be superb in leading this charity into the coming years and develop it into an even more sustainable and impactful charity.
Ably supported by Pete Gorton who has stepped forward as our incoming treasurer and Russell who I must say excels in the secretarial role .
Such a wealth of experience and knowledge you all bring to our organisation. We are in very capable hands folks . – Note . These positions are to be confirmed in the coming part of the meeting , 

I must say that this is the most impactful and significant transition of any SJA AGM and will further entrench the SJA in our community.

Finally I would like to thank Gavin for all he does in our community .
Then I would like to thank him for all he does for our charity .
Then I would like to thank him for agreeing to help out as co chair for the last two years .
Gavin, our agreement to step back has worked with help from some very dogged and determined members . You have been so supportive and generous with your involvement ——-  and you even work I think ? !

So many challenges being met with so many positive responses by our sub groups .

I am so very proud of where we ( SJA ) are and so very proud and HOPEFUL of where we are going
— The housing matter WILL be resolved and we will be able to continue to support our homeless ,  44 of whom are tonight accommodated in our caravans and units , as one of our longest core advocacies . 

##. in 2021 at the AGM  we started our “ It’s up to us “ campaign with huge on going community support and now six operational units .

Dave Crowden and Ken Vatcher continue to advocate for the homeless helping to organise another music festival on November 26 th at Longstocking. 

##. in 2023 at this AGM we join the YES 23 campaign and I hope for the same support and ultimate acceptance of the indigenous invitation through the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart –
“ with substantive constitutional change and structural reforms, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood .”
    “ We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country . When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish . They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country “.

Cheers and enjoy this beautiful day .
What can I do ??? How may I help ???


Sub-Group Reports

Bega Sub-Group

: CRSA disbanded. Denise Perry continues contact with CRISP-Community Refugee Integrated Settlement Program

: Jan Reynolds attended RAR – Rural Australians For Refugees  Conference in Katoomba representing Social Justice Advocates Far South Coast

: 50 for 50 dinners postponed due to Covid. Over $20000 has been raised.

: SJA volunteers supported Jo Riley Fitzer with dinner for Timor Leste visit.

:  Jo Riley Fitzer running YES forum meetings in place of regular meetings until the referendum.

In the planning process for discussion after the referendum-potential major fundraisers for at risk Somali children.

Environment Sub-Group

  • Marji Puotinen: Climate Reality Leader and Coral-reef Scientist: Climate Presentations with Lumen Year, 3, 5. 9 and 11 students, Pambula Preschool x 2 classes and general meet and Greet at Aqua. 24th-26th May 2023
  • Working bees at Potoroo (1 x per month) and Black Duck foods: 21st June
  • Support to Crunch team: Jacob, Juliet and Freya and Bush n US
  • Support Janine and Jean with Electrify Pambula/ Pambula Beach: community battery
  • Candelo festival: Worked with Ann on waste team: 0 waste, washing facility
  • Wanderer festival waste management suggestions, feedback ideas for 2023
  • Emails constantly in support of Climate action, No gas or fossil fuels: targeting big banks, stopping fracking and logging, Eurobodalla
  • Support Youth Climate Action group as required.
  • Yes 23 campaign
  • SJA Donation tin organisation: Pick up and drop off to: Katie’s coffee van Spenser Park, Black Daisy, Wild Rye, Crankys, Aqua,
  • Timor Leste- coffee report: Susan McGee

We have distributed packets of coffee roasted by Wild Rye to many businesses in Pambula, Merimbula and Bega since early November. Businesses which have had repeat deliveries include Merimbula Tourist Information Centre, Pambula Fruit and Vegetable (thank you Theo), Kristy McBains’  office  (thanks Jo) ,  Bega Valley Real Estate and St Peters Catholic Church Pambula. Coffee is also available at Wheelers restaurant.

Sales have slowed down in all places.

Timor Friendship “Friends of Same” coffee has been returned from Jason Harley Optometrists, as they are no longer allowed to sell it as now owned by OPSM.  14 bags of ground coffee and 5 bags of coffee beans.( expiring date Sept and Dec 2023)

Numbers on current stock are – 31 packets whole beans, 8 Plunger grind  and 1 Espresso Grind.

Indigenous Issues

Most of the last year has been taken up with working on our campaign to support the Yes position in the referendum. Following consultation with Uncle Ossie Cruse and BJ we printed copies of our position re the Referendum along with the draft proposal for distribution.

A few of us attended Survival Day in Bermagui on 26 January in support of local First Nations peoples.

Bega branch combined with SJASC to collaborate with the Yes 23 campaign run as an offshoot of From the Heart, an organisation headed by Dean Price.

Our Far South Coast NSW for Yes group was launched at the Candelo Market on 2 July to a good reception. Jo Riley-Fitzer had ordered free t-shirts from Yes 23 which we gave to people who had registered their support. SJASC ordered core flutes, posters and badges some of which were used at Pambula market last Sunday. A special attraction at the markets was the canoe built and decorated by youth from the Eden Project, a project that SJASC supports.

At this point I wish to thank Ray Tynan for convening the Indigenous Issues group up until June this year, when he relinquished the role due to ill health. We wish you all the best for upcoming operations, Ray, and hope to see you back with us soon.

Olwen Morris, having only taken on role of coordinator of the group since June of this year.

Advocates for Timor Leste

The last twelve months were eventful for BVATL. Dave Crowden has worked hard for years with Ego Lemos and others to bring the Timorese choir, Koru Lian Timor (the voice / sound of Timor) to Australia. This trip had been postponed a number of times due to the Covid pandemic.

The choir performed to appreciative audiences in the Blue Mountains, Canberra, the Bega Valley Shire, Wollongong and Darwin. Audience members were struck by the professional standard of the singing, the warmth of the choir members as they sang messages of unity and struggle, and for the reminders that we have to look after our environment.

Flowing from Ego’s “Let’s Save the Earth” song that audiences sang enthusiastically  and his stories about rejuvenating mountain springs, BVATL will be sending five local people from Natarbora to attend Ego’s permaculture workshop on how to rejuvenate and maintain those mountain springs that are so vital for year round water supplies to remote communities. 

Many thanks to Dave Crowden, his team and the supporting choirs in the Blue Mountains and Bega Valley Shire for their valued contributions. It was very special for the Timorese singers from remote communities to participate with our indigenous singers and hear more about their culture and stories. 

One moment is worth reflecting on. After the Bega flag raising ceremony and Timorese anthem, the choir performed on the upper floor of the Civic Centre (which overlooked the town with the Timor-Leste flag flying proudly in a stiff breeze and Biamanga Mountain in the background), it was a perfect setting for the choir to hear about the cultural significance of that mountain (“foho lulik” = magic mountain) and get a deeper understanding of what the Bega Valley represents.

BVATL is also deeply appreciative to SJASC membership for their strong support of the tour, attending performances and the flag raising ceremony, providing the use of the SJA ute, PA speaker, preparation of lunches and provision of fees for Jigamy Farm and the welcome dinner prepared so well by Jo Fitzer. Also, Mick Brosnan and John Liston were as generous as ever.

Dave Crowden strongly contributed to SJA housing fundraising with the organisation of the immensely successful concert in 2022. He is currently preparing a similar event for later in 2023 which will contribute some funding as well for BVATL.

As reported previously reported, new government regulations have taken up a lot of time and effort with compliance issues and new signatories for our ANZ account in Dili. These processes are ongoing but should eventually lead to better transparency for Bob Grasby, our BVATL treasurer and more convenience for Nikolas Klau in Timor.

BVATL is currently preparing to screen the film, Circle of Silence, at Merimbula at the Picture Show Man Cinema in late August, 2023.  This documentary covers the assassination of Australian journalists during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.

Thanks again to Bob for his work as treasurer, Nikolas for his work in Timor as our liaison officer and Jan for her contributions as secretary. 

Through generous and faithful sponsors BVATL continues to support 4 teacher training scholarships at the Baucau Institute via the Marist Brothers.. 

Thanks to all our valued donors:

Tathra Op Shop
Bega Rotary Club
Panania Fund

David Gallan
Bega Valley Advocates for Timor Leste

Housing and Homelessness

This week’s meeting was postponed until the third week of July.
Planning for Wed 19 @ 5 pm @ Uniting Church Bega – ALL WELCOME. 

*** The most activity continues in the use of caravans.
18 out at the moment housing approximately 34 people with the Tween  Waters Caravan Park and Kalaru park both engaging again. 
Clearly opportunistic but at least it works to our advantage. 

***. The management committee is doing a fantastic job organising our six operating crisis caravan units which last night housed about 14 people.
Small families and single mums. 
Land is identified in Eden and Cobargo at the Uniting Church sites for more crisis units but we need council to move on the definition and approve our crisis units without DA requirements. 

*** We have dropped the crisis transitional unit on the private property in Eden as the establishment costs as required through the DA were horrendous.

***. We are lobbying on many fronts to have the crisis caravan units recognised either directly or within a special category to enable us to meet the challenge of the housing crisis. Media , council , state governments all contacted and engaged as well as three councillors taking direct actions. 

***. The Affordable Housing Implementation Group continues to investigate opportunities to revamp existing facilities, to lobby state government about crisis housing and definitions for our caravans.  Zonings and developer contributions are also being examined. 

***. We need more caravans to house folks in the winter cold and we are all aware of the rental costs and power costs causing more and more anxiety and pain .

*** Ιn association with the caravans we still collect and distribute furniture to units where folks moving to new address. At the moment a double bed and drawers could be used in the community .

Now intend to apply for a grant to fund a part time furniture person and to assist with caravans. Of course to state the bleeding obvious this is lessening as fewer rentals are now available and folks move only when necessary.

😃ALWAYS welcome folks into the sub group to broaden our support and extend links within the community 

Cheers Mb