Mick Brosnan, Wendy Wait, Peter Reid, Pam Skelton, Peter Skelton, Wendy Wait, Ann Wykes, Russell Jennings (minutes) Jayne Manning, Gavin Bell, David Gallan, Trish Young, Jeff Knowles (Canberra), Pete Gorton, John Liston
Acknowledgement of Country: Mick Brosnan.
Jo Riley-Fitzer, Denise Perry, Ray Tynan Chris Tynan, Sarah Williams, Barb Jones, Barb Toner, Kylie Furnell, Ross Williams, Zoe Pentin, Olwyn Morris, Naomi White, Hugo White, Colin Macpherson, Robin Macpherson.
Previous Minutes:
Moved: Wendy Wait, Seconded: Peter Reid

Treasurers report:
Finance reports from Robyn at ‘Sapphire Coast Bookkeeping’
Moved Peter Reid, Seconded Gavin Bell

Subgroup Reports: Read reports from February at bottom of these Minutes and Reports

BVATL: (Timor Leste)
Dave Gallan ; thanks SJA members for successful Timor Leste choir tour. Dave showed Timor Leste Vanessa Milton ABC report on laptop. Also shared on SJA Facebook page10/5/23.
20 year anniversary in 2024 of BVATL working in East Timor. Thanks Peter Skelton for assistance with grant application.
Mick thanked Dave Gallan and Dave Crowden and their team on behalf of SJA.

Forces for Nature:
Wendy Wait read her report (tabled)
Mick: SJA established umbrella bank account ‘CRUNCHtime Australia’. 
AQUA Thu 30 May 3 pm meet Marji Puutonen visiting climate activist.
Youth Climate Action group Zoe Pentin 6 members and growing.
Jacob addressed junior SJA Lumen this week.
Pete Gorton: 2nd round NSW EV grants coming up.
**It appears from this link that round 2 applications are closed (RJ)

Refugee/ Migrants:
Gavin Bell proposed 2 week November visit to FSC from Canberra TBC. 
Mick Brosnan recognised Case Hill Bega Multicultural Centre (BMC) and how SJA and BMC should work together supporting each other in the future.

Housing Homeless: Mick Brosnan reported:
3 new vans purchased and allocated.
SJA have ‘many’ caravans (90+) in the shire as fire site/crisis accommodation.
Council planning DA challenges with units/transportable dwellings continue: private land assessed differently?
Mick thanked Sarah Williams on housing sub group for her work.
Mick thanked Kylie Furnell (SEWACS) who chairs housing sub group.
Mary Lightfoot Bermagui assisting older single women.

“NSW Labor has pledged $284,000 for South Coast Housing Projects, including:
$84,000 for The Family Place in Moruya for 3x 2 bedroom demountable emergency temporary housing
$200,000 for the Bermagui CWA for further development of affordable accommodation for low-income seniors”
Michael Holland State Member for Bega March 2023 Newsletter.

Indigenous: Peter Reid Reported. 
Ray Tynan has resigned as convener. New convener TBC.
The Voice campaign ‘YES’ supported by SJA.
Check SJA emails for information and SJA Facebook page.
Check SJA emails and Facebook page for information.

Trying to find someone so we know the money is getting to the right people: this is ongoing and proving problematic as previous contacts are no longer in place.
Motion: ‘That this general meeting of the SJA endorses the decision of the executive to send $15,000 to Somalia to provide food for those starving and fleeing Terror.’
Proposed: Gavin Bell, Seconded: Russell Jennings

Arts grants: Four allocated $500 each

Kairos proposal discussed: See Appendix 1 below
Proposed: Gavin Bell, Seconded: David Gallan

Furniture/ Vinnies : SJA currently NOT accepting furniture donations. 
SJA receive regular requests via phone and Facebook page.

Van – grant

Jack Martin Park initiative was discussed briefly

General business—

Jeff Knowles from Canberra presented to the meeting on energy audits via ‘Eco footprint solutions’
– energy audits Canberra rental units. explained his operations in Canberra. Cool climate energy management. ‘3-1-7-1’ 3 mths hot, 1 mth Autumn, 7 mths cold, 1 mth spring. Examines Building fabric – windows/ double glazing etc, fixed appliances – and discretionary appliances.
AEF Australian Energy Foundation questionnaire tabled . : appliances rated
New houses in Canberra now 7 stars energy rating

Rentals on the Bega Valley Shire (inland) are in similar climate to Canberra.
Jeff offered services gratis to work with tenants in SJA rentals.

Other Business:

Jeff Knowles: ANU contact name: Pete to link SJA.

John Liston : Jigamy Farm Youth Camp Ozzie Cruise vision 40 acres. Mick has spoken to Mark Bateman and negotiations will continue.

Cathy Haines St James House open up for two nights crisis accommodation and carers accommodation at low cost. However the associated issues of people moving in out and around were acknowledged. SJA proposed to invest.

Peter Skelton: Qantas grant – to fund 15 people from regional to go to Permaculture conference Timor Leste 2024.

Secretary to organise card for Ray Tynan.

Mick: acknowledged to work of Ray as convener for the Indigenous sub group and Chris for their overall work and support over years.

Fundraising: 10 kw to be installed on Bega church to power the three units CEFE /SJA partnership.

Mick away next two weeks. Contact Gavin

Meeting closed: 8.51pm

Next meeting July AGM Thursday 13/7/23. All positions declared vacant.

Appendix 1

Dear Mick & Gavin,

We would like to thank the Social Justice Advocates for your ongoing support of Kairos.

As you are aware Kairos is a Prison Ministry.  On the South Coast we have an arm of Kairos called Kairos Outside.  Kairos outside supports Women who have been impacted by having someone in Prison.  These women are often the forgotten victims of someone else’s crime and it is often said by those in prison, “I did the crime, but my family and friends also do the time”.  

The introduction of these women to Kairos is when they are invited as a guest, with no cost to themselves, to a weekend away, where they can interact with and draw support from other women who have or are experiencing similar circumstances.  These women can participate in these weekends without shame or judgement.

If there is anyone in SJA who knows of a woman who may benefit from being a guest on a Kairos Outside weekend please have them contact me.  Our next guest weekend is coming up towards the end of June this year.

As Kairos is a self-funded ministry, we rely on fund raising activities, grants and donations to finance our weekends.  A guest weekend can cost up to $16,000 and is free to all guests who attend.  If SJA is able to make a donation of $2,000 this year we would really appreciate that.  This can be done by cheque to, ‘Kairos Prison Ministry South Coast’, or transferring funds directly to our Westpac bank account – details below:-

BSB                  032 285

Account No.      589707

Thanks again for your ongoing support.


Celi Kennedy

Committee Reports (February 2023)

Bega Valley Advocates GM 9 Feb report

The principal founder of BVATL, Jim Collins, died at the end of 2022. He was much loved in Timor and known widely as Avor Jim (“Grandfather Jim”). Jim achieved many things in his life and you can read a superb tribute to him here:

A mass for Jim was celebrated in Natarbora and flowers laid on the ocean.

BVATL transferred $6000 in January to fund 4 scholarships at Baucau Teachers Institute for 2023. These will be two new Year 1 scholarships, and two ongoing for our Year 2 and Year 3 students.

The new government regulations and account updates for our ANZ bank account in Dili, Timor-Leste are taking up a lot of time. It has involved much correspondence between the bank and BVATL, plus much time for our liaison officer to deal with the bank and open another account at a different bank. This started last year and will take weeks to complete.

Our thanks to Dominic Rideaux, public notary in Bega, for assisting us to certify our passport copies before these documents are sent to DFAT in Canberra and then to ANZ in Dili.

Plans are well underway with the preparation for the Timorese Choir to visit Australia. This visit has been postponed a number of times due to Covid.

Dave Crowden and his contacts at 4 Winds are finalising visas. We anticipate the group arriving in Sydney around 26th April with a visit to perform in the Blue Mountains and Canberra before arriving in Bega on 28th April. All SJA members are invited to a welcome dinner at Bega Uniting Church at 5:30 pm. Jo Fitzer has kindly agreed to organise the dinner and she will need helpers on the day so please keep this in mind.

There will be various public performances and collaborations with other choirs during the stay and we will keep SJA members informed once these dates firm up. The group will leave for Wollongong on 6th May.

David Gallan

SJA Environment SUB GROUP General meeting report: Thursday 9th February, 2023.

  • The Environment group and SJA Youth Climate Action group supported Kate Liston on a weekly rubbish pick up in Merimbula. We also cleaned out several of the SWAMP drainage nets of rubbish along the foreshore.
  • Met and made contact with Garry Hunter from Clean Curalo group who we will support in future rubbish clean ups around Lake Curalo
  • Meeting to be arranged with Kate Liston and founder of the Wanderer festival to explore and discuss waste free festivals.
  • Fundraising Timor Leste coffee: Sue Mcgee and I have visited and restocked several of the shops and centres around Pambula, Merimbula and Bega with SJA coffee
  • Working bees at Potoroo Palace once a month: Pruned, whipper snipped and weeded the orchard last Saturday 4th February. We met with Terry from Black Duck Foods based south of Eden. We were lucky to meet and work with Terry who volunteers at Potoroo and works alongside Bruce Pascoe at Black duck foods. An Indigenous social enterprise committed to traditional food growing processes that care for Country and return economic benefits directly to Indigenous people. Check them out on Instagram. 

Our SJA environment group would love in the future to support Black Duck foods south of Eden…so maybe our next working bee could be there. Hope to see you at the next SJA Enviro working bee in a month?

  • Met with Karen Lakeside Electrical: Still awaiting Lakeside quote regarding solar panels on the 5 social housing units. We have 26 solar panel installed for Envision 2. Only 4 to go before we receive a free install for one of SJA units
  • Single use Plastics being driven more now by supermarkets and no real FOGO.. so SUP Merimbula on hold until legislation or FOGO changes!
  • Electric charging station in Pambula discussed and several grants being looked at in collaboration with Panboola. Peter Gorton, Gavin Bell, John Dawson, Michelle Richmond and I are currently looking at possibilities here. Initially this grant for 4 stations you are required to put in an expression of interest. 
  • Huge clothing wastes at Vinnies: Currently recycled clothing is cut up into rags to be sold. Possible working bees in the future to support Vinnies and reduce and reuse a resource.
  • Education: Screening on “The Franklin River” documentary at 7pm, Thursday16th February. All welcome. Spectacular scenery and footage of the river and the protests in the early 80s and how this river through people power were able to stop the river from being dammed… against all odds and a change of government. Hoping for some wonderful discussions prior to the March State election in March. Please spread the word. All welcome.. 
  • Election: March 2023… will seek to get candidates’ views and stance on Climate change, social housing and other environmental issues.
  • Climate change presentations to some schools in the BVS. Wendy is supporting and hosting Marji Puotinen from the Climate Reality Leaders organisation and a Marine Scientist from Adelaide by organising Climate info sessions at Eden PS, Lumen and Pambula Preschool from Monday 13th, leaving Thursday 16th Feb. 
    All welcome at these climate presentations and was hoping to see if any SJA folk would like to meet with Marji on Tuesday 14th to discuss her presentation, climate conversations and how individuals can make a difference. Meeting venue details to be confirmed once interest is determined. Please contact Wendy 0428450348 if you would like to meet with Marji Puotinen. She is only in the area for 3 days. Attaching info about climate presentations.

Housing / Homelessness Advocacies Update as of the 1st of February.

  • Last sub group meeting on January 19th at CWA Pambula at 9:30 am 
  • ** Met with Michael Holland (Labor state candidate), Rose Jackson (Shadow state Housing minister) with Barb Jones and Ray Tynan to urge the 
  • 1. highlighting of the housing stock available and the current status of maintenance works with these properties. 
  • 2. Open the issue of the old Bega nursing home for temporary – in waiting use for crisis housing rather than rely on a negative, unseen report on asbestos that has for the past three years been used as the reason for this vacant building to sit unused.
  • ** Delivery of the sixth crisis transitional unit to the Pambula caravan park. 
  • Thank you to ALL who volunteered and helped to land this unit. To be continued.
  • ** Caravans continue to be delivered and we are in the process of trying to purchase one more. One to Eden, one to Bermagui, one sold to Bemboka lady, one moved to and from Bega !!!!!
  • This need seems to continue unabated and we are close to buying another van.
  • ** Nullica lodge uncertainty continues . Meeting of access centre reps with RSL Life reps including the CEO. An agreement to liaise and communicate with the Eden community.
  • BUT at this meeting the lobbying of the Bega mayor and the Bega CEO by RSL Life to alter zone to enable more units was not mentioned. So much for transparency ?!?!
  • ** We are talking with the Eden Uniting Church for the placement of two units on their Eden Church site.
  • Also talking with private property owner for the placement of a unit on their property. 
  • To this end I met with a planner to look at requirements vis a vis DA or …..
  • ** We await the outcome of our retrospective DA for the units on the Bega site. 
  • This wait is the process of a fast tracked DA. 
  • (Note – three main members of the council planning department are leaving in the coming two weeks) . 
  • ** Importantly I THANK all members of the crisis unit management committee who continue to ensure that the five existing units operate very efficiently and within the established protocols.
  • ** Thank you to a local teacher for offering a property to accept the temporary placement of a caravan for a homeless person.
  • ** Thanks to Kim Poso real estate in Pambula for adopting the SJA housing It’s Up To Us campaign as a part of their sales promotion:
  • – a donation of $100 per sale.
  • Thank you Kim and staff – great community business initiative.
  • Cheers 
  • Mick B 

Indigneous sub group report

Our major activity since the last general meeting has been finalising our position on the upcoming referendum on The Voice.  A copy of that position is attached.  Note date – this is a volatile public issue.

.We are planning to engage the general community in discussion of The Voice.  We are considering inviting speakers from outside the local community and are consulting with local indigenous persons about their views on how they see the campaign for Yes proceeding.

Ray Tynan, Convenor Indigenous Issues subgroup
6 February 2023



In May 2017, at Uluru, following months of consultation and dialogue, 250 First Nations delegates from across the continent came together to create a direct and powerful ‘Uluru Statement’ regarding their aspirations for true recognition in Australia’s Constitution:

“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution,  along with a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.

 The Statement sees the Voice as a body advising the Parliament on all matters concerning the wellbeing of First Nations peoples and their communities. 

On winning the election in 2022, Prime Minister elect, Anthony Albanese committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart “in full”.

At the Garma Festival in July 2022, Albanese suggested that the referendum question should be as simple as ‘Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

In addition, he introduced a possible three sentence change to the Constitution as a starting point for discussion, should the referendum result in a ‘yes’ vote: 

  • There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 
  • The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast support the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of ‘agreement-making’ and ‘truth-telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Only by speaking to Parliament can Indigenous people have their views considered by the whole Parliament, not just the sitting government.

It is unacceptable that the Australian Constitution, alone amongst all other First World Nations Constitutions, continues to fail to recognise the First Nations peoples of this country. The SJASC encourages a ‘yes’ vote in the 2023 referendum.


Refugees sub group. Gavin Bell

Received $50,000 grant monies and have now purchased the Used Ford Ranger,

  • Getting calls for furniture donations,
  • Co-ordinating with Bega Rotary for delivery into 2 units in Merimbula in the next 2 weeks for the Skilled Labour Migrants working at the Sapphire Coast Aged Facilities,
  • In discussions with Bega Rotary regarding a Multicultural Day at Tathra,
  • A meeting planned for the new Anglican Reverend regarding the Advocates work
  • A speaking engagement at Merimbula RSL, March 28th 2023, Rotary Golf week, over 100 Rotarians from around Australia,
  • In awe of Kate Liston’s Rubbish collection, Wendy’s organisation of the Potoroo working bee, the Comms team, Mick’s never-ending energy and many other contributors