Minutes of General Meeting held 14 July 2022

social justice advocates of the sapphire coast

Minutes of General Meeting held 14 July 2022

Mtg commenced at approx. 7.30pm.

Present:  Gavin Bell, Mick Brosnan, Pete Gorton, Mahlia MacPherson, Peter Reid, Ann Wykes, Jan Midena, Dave Gallan, Hugo White, Chris and Ray Tynan and Steve Tynan, Dianne Beckett

Apologies: Karen Gillespie, Ian MacLiesh, Peter Charlton, Paul Cosgrave, Wendy Wait, John Liston, Kate Liston-Mills, Celi Kennedy, Karen Duncan, Denise Perry, Barbara Jones, Sara Williams, Jo Riley-Fitzer, Peter and Pam Skelton, and Kylie Furnell and Bob Grasby.

Gavin opened the meeting with a welcome and commenced by inviting attendees to briefly introduce themselves.

Acknowledgement of Country given at the preceding Annual General Meeting.

Minutes: The minutes of the May meeting were circulated previously. Gavin summarised them before Di moved their acceptance, Gavin seconded.  Carried.

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 circulated prior to the meeting. Gavin went through bank balances for year ended 31.03.2022.

Payments to be ratified as set out in Treasurers Report.

Gavin moved that the reports be received and payments ratified, seconded Mahlia.  Carried.

Correspondence:  Mostly appeals for assistance which we are unable to respond to. 

Other correspondence happens in the sub-groups, for example letter written to Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians congratulating her on her appointment and outlining continued support for key issues. 

Moved Gavin, seconded Peter Reid that the correspondence be accepted.  Carried.

 Co-chairs Mick and Gav expressed their thanks to Celi and Robyn for the timely and comprehensive reports.

Asylum Seekers/Refugees No specific report, but plans continue to host families.  Jo Riley-Fitzer had provided a report on the 50-50 dinners and related activities.  Previously circulated.

Forces for Nature:  No report – Wendy away.  Single Use Plastics extended into Merimbula, advocacy about Wanderer Festival, and Mirador bushland.

Dave Gallan spoke about SERCA (South East Region Conservation Alliance) sending letter to Tanya Plibersek, congratulating her and supporting ongoing campaigns.  He handed out a leaflet from the Nature Conservation Council calling for an end to native forest logging.  Their petition needs 20,000 signatures.  He stressed the value of trees and native forests in limiting climate change.

Also mentioned that NPA and the Bega Valley Bushwalkers met with Angus Fleming of NPWS to discuss the huts being built along the Lighthouse Walk. 

Indigenous Affairs: Since last meeting, sent letters to NT Chief Minister, regarding the killing of an Aboriginal man and calling for no weapons on Aboriginal land.  Also wrote to Queensland Minister for Health – in relation to Four Corners episode re killing of Aboriginal woman. Continuing to raise age of criminal responsibility. Uluru Statement – detail being discussed.  Dave:  Good thing to discuss and raise with people.  

Mick:  Lumen Christi SJA group continues to talk about Voice, Treaty and Truth.  Large mural written on by all classes – presented to Pastor Ossie Cruse.   Kristy McBain will present to Parliament.  

Homeless/Housing:  A brilliant year.  Everyone got behind it and a fabulous community success.  Two units now operating and occupied in Pambula.  These are crisis transitional units, lessening indignity of staying in caravan.  Planned tenancies for three to six months.  Mothers with children.  Thank you to everyone who helped.  People who constructed them, mainly Mark and Bill are now building a bathroom for an older couple at Wandella.  They have performed building work, sanitation pods etc from beyond Pericoe to West of Wandella.

We have paid for two units to be sited at the Uniting Church, have put deposit on third one – two already allocated.  Waiting for approvals before starting again with Mark and Bill.  Working with Wesley Uniting – possibly a dozen sites.

The Longstocking Brewery event is planned to go ahead in November..  Mick expects we will have eight units but still looking for two sites in Eden as a priority.

Mick outlined other actions in Bega Valley Shire around homelessness, including the provision of four rooms for single men in Bega, and ongoing work by Anglicare to have Nullica turned into units for the aged. 

BVATL :  Dave advised the training for teachers continues. Looking forward to the choir coming next year – a dozen people from all over Timor Leste.  

General Business

SJA has donated $500 to Ukrainian refugee – need Ukrainian contacts to facilitate further assistance.

A $75,000 grant application for the purchase of a vehicle has been lodged, hopefully to prevent Mick using his own vehicle.

Car Club to provide support later in the year.

Callum Champagne help kids improve Bega Valley for youth.

Calvary Church putting out hampers for people in need.

Potoroo Palance:  Mick moved that SJA give $2,000 to Potoroo Palace Youth Group for maintenance and upgrade of paths which are wet and soggy.  This amount will provide 52m of mesh to be filled with aggregate.  Seconded Dianne. Carried.

Arts Grants:  Mick gave background of how money from Dreamcoat Productions went into scholarships of $500 per high school per year.  Schools allocate money to students with potential in art and music.  This has run for six years, but Dreamcoat funds have run out. 

Mick moved that we allocate $10,000 over five years from a recent large donation to continue this program.   Pete Gorton seconded.  Carried.

Steve Tynan:  Priest worked in Phillipines, now back in Australia with parents Ray and Chris. Steve told the meeting that it had been a pleasure to spend our money, providing low cost boats to people needing them. They are incredibly grateful, often having lost everything to one of the many typhoons that ravage the country.

Ray:  Indigenous group interested in supporting the Canoe Project in Eden. 

Jan:  BVDRF meeting monthly.  Usually meets quarterly.  Four rounds of grants have been distributed to bushfire affected residents.  The challenge now is to re-build the fund – one idea – ask people to make a pledge.  Committee is made up of two community members, two councilliors and SJA members. 

Mick gave some history of developing the protocols.  Approximately $100k sitting in fund.  Mick acknowledged and thanked Karen Gillespie for her role, particularly in the setting of protocols and setting criteria for grants.  The fund is co-chaired by Mick and Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick.  He invited members to join the committee.  

Mick:  Thanks to Gwenda Blake who helped at the Samaritan Op Shop for a number of years and is a permanent member of the food collection team.  

Gavin working on sourcing coffee from Wild Rye – for Timor Leste.

Invitation:  CWA have invited SJA members to their centenary lunch on Monday 8.8.2022 Invited SJA to centenary luncheon midday.  Let Mick or Gavin know if you would like to attend.

Pambula Hub:  A group of locals, including Mick, Gav and Pambula Rotary would like to return Jack Martin Park (land adjoining sports complex) to take community control and create a Pambula Hub.  

$500m going to War Memorial:   Consider writing a letter to protest that there is no acknowledgement of the Frontier Wars. 

Memberships due:  Memberships are now due – $5.00 per annum.  You can pay via the website or make a payment to the Bendigo Bank …….  

Meeting concluded about 8.35.

(Next meeting: Thursday, 8 September 2022)