Minutes of General Meeting held 9 September 2021

Meeting commenced  by Zoom at 7pm.

Present: Pam and Peter Skelton, Wendy Wait, Karen Gillespie, Fenella and Ray Temmerman, Marie Walsh, Jo Fitzer-Riley, Peter Reid, Kylie Furnell, Ross Williams, Ray and Chris Tyan, Celi Kennedy, Gavin Bell, Michael Brosnan, Dianne Beckett.

Apologies: David Gallan, Peter Charlton, Denise Perry, Barbara Toner.

Gavin chaired the meeting and asked Mick to give an Acknowledgement of Country.

Mick paid respects to the traditional custodians of the land, the Yuin people and gave particular emphasis to the Elders, their living legacy of songlines, lore and art.  He reflected on the responsibility of emerging Elders to carry on this legacy.

Minutes: The minutes having been circulated prior to the meeting were adopted.

Treasurer’s Report:

The Treasurer’s reports relating to Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund were also circulated prior to the meeting.  It was moved Celi, seconded Gavin that the reports be accepted.  Carried.

Celi highlighted the growing balance in the ‘It’s Up to Us’ account which stood at $74,000.



Bega Group and Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Ross informed us that a successful meeting had been held earlier in the week.  CRSI (Community Refugee Settlement Initiative) has now become CRSA.  Denise and Karen are actively involved.  They aim to form a mentoring group which will assist refugee or asylum seeker families integrate into the community.  As an example of community support, a building company has come forward offering a job and accommodation for one family.

Tathra Uniting Church have also given strong support, helping with Jo’s 50for50 Dinners which have been so successful, but unfortunately stopped due to COVID restrictions.

Bega Valley Advocates for Timor Leste  A report was received from David Gallan and circulated prior to the meeting.  It outlined the situation and efforts being made to assist on the ground.

MOTION:  That SJA donate $1800 to pay for the works outlined in the report.  Moved Gavin, seconded Mick and Carried.

Forces for Nature  Wendy provided a comprehensive overview of what individuals can do to make a positive difference to our environment.  It was circulated prior to the meeting.  Wendy also drew attention to a DA which will be considered by Council on Tuesday, 14 September regarding the Timber Optimisation Hub to allow for additional native forest processing at the Eden Chip Mill. (Separate email sent relating to this).

Indigenous  Ray informed the meeting that the sub-group had written to the Prime Minister and other relevant ministers drawing attention to the growing gap in vaccination rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.  The letters asked what action is being taken to address this.

The meeting noted the continuing quiet work of this group in drawing attention to issues such as the age of criminal responsibility (10) and the removal of Indigenous children from their families and subsequent placement with non-Indigenous families.

Housing  Mick commented on the dire situation and outlined the work being done to provide caravans when there is no other alternative.

He also spoke about the work Wendy Wait and others are doing to assist an Eden family of five who lost their home in a recent fire.  He will need help in about three weeks time with relocating a building (that will be about 30/09/2021).

While the It’s Up to Us account is growing, the events planned including Sleep On It and Made in Australia have had to be postponed.  More information when alternative plans can be finalised.

General Business  

In Search of Safety is ready to go when COVID restrictions allow.

Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Assistance  Marie talked about the support available, which is open to all and non-judgemental.  Probably best to approach the Mental Health team at the South East Regional Hospital and ask for Marie who can advise of the best pathway for individuals.

Denise Perry and Cambodia  In Denise’s absence, Mick and Jo paid tribute to the work that Denise has done – facilitating the building of 19 homes in Cambodia.

A motion was circulated prior to the meeting to donate $3,000.  It is repeated below with a revision to $3,500:

Motion Proposed by Mick Brosnan seconded by Gavin Bell

That this meeting of the SJA agrees to donate $3500 to BHS and their brilliant, effective home building campaign in Cambodia , led by SJA member Denise Perry , which we have supported financially  for a number of years . Should they have enough funds this would amazingly be their 19th home in the last ten years !!!!!!


“Hi Mick, Gavin and fellow Social Justice Advocates

I thought I would share some good news.

Bega High has not been able to conduct its annual overseas study tour for the past two years. Despite this, we have maintained our fundraising efforts. (albiet somewhat interrupted due to Covid)

Last year, we built three houses, through Global Village Housing, in Cambodia.

This year, some of our funds have already found their way to Cambodia to support emegency food supplies through one our partners, The Landmine Museum in Siem Reap.

It was great, when we realised late last week that we had scraped enough together ($3500Aust) to fund another house. This will be 16th house we have built in conjunction with GVH since 2014. We previously built 2 in 2011 with another small NGO.

The GVH guys on the ground in Cambodia were over the moon. We were pretty excited too!

We have decided to see whether we can get another house funded before the end of the year.

I would appreciate you considering any support possible. I understand it is very difficult times.

Many thanks,

Denise Perry.”

Carried Unanimously.

Technical Support:  Ray Tennerman offered to mentor someone, possibly a young person, who wanted to learn how the website works, and how to maintain it.

Meeting concluded about 8.15.

NEXT MEETING THURSDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2021 hopefully in person.


1.         The Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund has provided $600,000 to individuals and some community groups.  The money to individuals assisted them to purchase items badly needed following the fires, or small items which allowed them to make progress in their recovery.  It also helped people run community events, set up tool libraries and workshops which had a ripple effect in helping the community.  Funds are expended which is a good thing, but there is an ongoing need as other funds have now wound up and there are still people in serious need.

2.         The Sanitation Project, which is linked to the Bushfire Recovery Support Service receives amazing support from SJA and Rotary.  Mick has recruited skilled volunteers who are helping people get basic facilities on their fire affected properties.  These facilities consist of a 6 x 4 metre shed with a toilet, shower and gas heater.  It is impossible to describe the gratitude of the people who have received this assistance.  Volunteers from All Hands All Hearts are also involved in the project.