Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre

Just visited the Warrane Mornington Neighbourhood Centre’s community garden to check on the fruit trees that I and various other sponsors have helped to purchase. Pleased to also meet the garden’s friendly co-ordinator Leah and some of the garden’s volunteers.

The community garden is not just a great way to promote healthy eating and provide food security to local residents – it is also helping the prisoners who volunteer here to gain valuable work skills which will assist them in securing employment on release.

Tasmanian Royal Flying Doctor Service

When we think about the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS), we often think of red dirt and blue skies in the outback.

However, the RFDS has been operating in Tasmania for almost 60 years! And while they make more than 1,200 flights per year between airstrips on King, Flinders and Cape Barren Islands, Queenstown, Wynyard, Burnie, Devonport, Smithton, St Helens, Launceston, Hobart and Melbourne, they also offer a range of ground based services to communities across regional Tasmania.

It was lovely to meet today with John Kirwan, the CEO of the RFDS Tasmania and hear about their emergency and primary health services as well as their award-winning dental outreach program and their mental and physical health programmes that are all provided free of charge.

To find out more about their services, or to make a donation to this fantastic cause, please visit their website.

Aging Wonderfully Well Expo

It was fantastic to attend the Ageing Wonderfully Well Expo at the Kingborough Hub today. There was a wide range of stallholders providing important information to help ageing Tasmanian’s get the best out of life. Thanks to Dementia Friendly Tasmania Inc. for hosting this event!

Palliative Care Tasmania

It was wonderful to catch up again with Colleen Johnstone from Palliative Care Tasmania for an update on the work they are doing, and to meet Rahme, who is doing her student prac placement with the organisation.

As the peak body for palliative care in Tasmania, PCT is doing excellent work educating service providers, carers, volunteers and the community about hospice, palliative care, death, dying, grief and bereavement while running a number of other palliative care projects.

Throughout 2016 and 2017 I lobbied successfully to save PCT when they were at risk of being defunded. I am looking forward to working with them to ensure they have a sustainable future and that their excellent work with the palliative care sector, and the wider community, can continue.

Homelessness week

The beginning of Homelessness Week (4-10 August 2019) is a timely reminder of the Morrison Government’s failure to take real action to help the thousands of Australians on social housing waiting lists, including 3,300 in Tasmania.

That’s over 3,000 Tasmanians who are couchsurfing or sleeping in crisis accommodation, cars, tents or on the street.

Despite the Liberals stating in early July that they would work on the housing and homelessness crisis in Tasmania over “the next six to eight weeks”, they are yet to detail one new initiative.

Now is the time for REAL ACTION on homelessness.

I Choose Road Safety Campaign

Even though today has been extraordinarily busy I had time to stop in and sign the pledge for the Australian Road Safety Foundation‘s ‘I Choose Road Safety’ campaign.

It was lovely to meet ARSF Ambassador Craig Lowndes, whose support for the campaign is greatly appreciated.

1 in 2 rural drivers and 1 in 3 metro drivers admit to speeding, using mobile phones or driving distracted while their own kids are in the car. This is a shocking statistic and all drivers should keep in mind that it’s not just their own lives at stake.

Merck Australia meeting

At Parliament House I was pleased to catch up with Stephen Coutts of Richardson Coutts, and Paul Lindsay from Merck Australia, and receive an update on Merck’s new medicine for Merkel Cell Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer, and for Multiple Sclerosis.

I am always glad to learn about developments that will help people with severe medical conditions live a more stress-free life.

Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia Commemorative Event

Many Australians would be familiar with the lyrics to “I Was Only 19” by Australian band Redgum, including the words “Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon”.

21 July 1969 – or 50 years ago today – was the day the first man walked on the moon. Australian veterans of the Vietnam War remember it as the day two mines exploded in the “light green” zone, killing two Australian soldiers and wounding many others.

One of those men wounded was Dave Sturmer, now a well-renowned artist. I felt privileged to be invited to a commemorative event, organised by the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia, at which some of Dave’s work was exhibited. You can see examples of his work at https://www.davesturmer.com.

The event was also a commemoration of the Battles of Hat Dich and Binh Ba.

It is important for Australia’s troops in any deployment to be fully supported, even if the decision to send them is controversial. It’s quite shameful that it took many years after the end of the Vietnam War to give Australia’s Vietnam Veterans the acknowledgement and thanks they deserve. I thank all Vietnam veterans for putting their lives on the line in the service of our country, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.