Event Featured News

To market, to market…

The Social Justice Advocates are once again going to the markets, raising awareness of the needs of the area, and our work toward meeting those needs.

The markets are an enjoyable place to meet new folk, tell our story, and invite them to share in that story as it grows and develops.

The first of these will be the Rotary Market at Pambula, 14 November.  That will be followed by additional markets at Merimbula, Nethercote, Candelo, Cobargo, and more.

We are looking for volunteers, just one or two for each market, to help out, enjoy meeting the people and talking with them.

Please consider getting involved by contacting Mick by emailing

Climate Environment Event

Student climate strike

Merimbula Student climate strike: Friday 15th October 2021

Did you hear this important news? On Friday 15th October there were over 40 student climate strikes (online and offline around Australia). From this Scott Morrison announced that he would be attending COP26 in Glasgow! 

It only took 40 strikes and over 10,000 students and adult supporters who left school and work to demand our government act on climate! From small towns to big cities, across 40 strikes, both online and offline, 10,000 people across this continent sent a clear message to the government: delay and denial are no longer an option because #TheYouthAreRising. Every minute, every action, every vote and every fraction of a degree of warming saved will be measured in lives, livelihoods, species and ecosystems saved. And we are not waiting anymore.

The Social Justice Advocates Forces for Nature group (SJAFFN), youth group and Cathy Griff BVS Greens Counsellor, met in Merimbula to support the students from Eden Marine High school at the National Student climate strike. These amazing students were expressing their grave concerns and climate change anxiety through chalk drawings. Please see attached photos.

Our SJA groups intentions along with supporting the students was to highlight the absolute urgency required by all levels of government to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid a climate catastrophe. Like the students we expect the government to have a credible policy on climate; a net zero plan and a Prime Minister who will actively present this at the global Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

The Bega Valley Shire also has local council elections coming up on 4th December and our SJA FFN group will be supporting BVS candidates who fully endorse the climate emergency declaration established in 2019.

Mick Brosnan Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast ( SJASC) – Chairperson, Susan Mcgee, Ann Wykes, Wendy Wait SJASC – Forces for Nature Convenor, Cathy Griffs (BVS Greens counsellor), Lyn Evans, Representative from Narooma, Graeme Wykes and Toby Jennings.
Thank you also Alexandra Seddan and Nicho who were also there to support the students but are not present in this photo.

 Mick Brosnan Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast ( SJASC) – Chairperson, Susan Mcgee, Ann Wykes, Wendy Wait SJASC – Forces for Nature Convenor, Cathy Griffs (BVS Greens counsellor), Lyn Evans, Representative from Narooma, Graeme Wykes and Toby Jennings.

Thank you also Alexandra Seddan and Nicho who were also there to support the students but are not present in this photo.

The wonderful Eden Marine High School students who organised and took part in the National Student climate strike in Merimbula on Friday 15th October.

Climate Environment

Nature is Perfection!

When the environment cannot sustain a population, disease is the natural way to reduce the density of the population to restore the ecosystem. This is the law of nature and applies to all communities and ecosystems.

Although nature is out of balance, it constantly strives towards homeostasis and perfection.

If we take care of the environment, then the environment can sustain us. If we destroy the environment, then the environment will destroy us.

Nature has no choice, but to be cruel to be kind. Nature also provides the medicine and all that is needed.The only way to eradicate dis-ease, is to live in harmony with nature in a sustainable way. 

Yours in peace, healing and harmony.


SJA Meeting Minutes

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.


President’s Report

*** “It’s Up to Us“ FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN to raise money to purchase a two bedroom unit is well and truly underway.

At time of writing approximately $74,000 has been raised. —- SIMPLY AMAZING. 

This toward a target of $100,000 and designed to back three major events to raise money for this SJA project ,..

(Note: The amazing amount of $74,000 toward $100,000 is in addition to the $55,000 already in hand from the sale of another property, and becomes part of the total of $155,000 needed to carry the project forward. $26,000 still to go, to complete the job. It’s Up To Us!)

Sleep On It event is still slated for the Friday 22nd of October.

The 21ST November music concert organised by the Figmentz is still going ahead at this stage.

We live in hope for both events and the hard work of organisers.

Please encourage all to participate and / or donate as the cost of real estate is simply staggering !!!!!!!!—.

As Peter Reid said —————    It’s Up To Us!!!

*** The draft Affordable Housing Strategy paper has been handed down and the council is working through this to develop a plan for the future. 

It is certainly the most hopeful comprehensive study and plan I have seen.  Were it to be adopted in main then there would be changes and advances for all of our community in relation to housing.

Crisis / Transitional housing is addressed in context and has I believe been recognised properly for the first time.

*** I addressed Council re the crisis that is our homelessness in the shire. 

Through a motion initially forwarded by CR Griff, actions related to crisis accommodation were taken. These include a letter to shire caravan parks to support our SJA crisis caravan project.

*** Shire Caravan Project

  • two caravans returned from the fire sites and with Geof Prigge performing his magic they are now out, or about to go, to homeless people.
  • Some other donated vans refurbished and out last week and this week for homeless. 
  • All the allocations through the Mission Australia liaison or with SEWACS Youth direction and guidance.
  • Caravan movements every week especially with the homeless crisis in our shire.

*** Finally through the great work of Wendy Wait, we have been able to support the family made homeless through an accidental fire in Eden.

  • We have located and had donated a building to replace the house. SUCH GENEROSITY. Wendy is organising a van and annex from Tathra caravan park for temporary accommodation for the family on their property — thanks again for the donation . 
  • We have organised transport and will advise of a working bee to -MAKE THIS HAPPEN !
  • Now however Wendy faces the onerous tasks of completing the DA required before the van can go back onto the site.
  • That’s not all folks – then there is the $44,000 cost to clear the site of the debris ( asbestos )
  • All this for a family that HAS NOTHING 
  • Tip fee component of this is $22,000 , yes you have read correctly.
  • Cr Jo Dodds has agreed to our request to lobby council about this massive impost.
  • Thanks Jo very much and we wait in hope.
  • Still need to raise the remaining $22,000 however.

*** There’s also

  1. The disaster fund which is of course occupying a lot of time and has allocated over $600,000 back to our community 

2. The work happening on a daily basis between SJA and Rotary out in the fire properties helping with shelter and sanitation- and council involvement esp with the fabulous case workers such as Dianne Beckett our secretary. 

3. Today is International Suicide Prevention Day – so huge a impact on lives in our shire

THANKS FOR READING folks and know that there is a lot happening in the crisis housing / caravan arena . 

What Can I Do ???    How May I Help  ???
Mick b