Our community has one of the highest rates of volunteering in the nation.

According to the 2016 Census just over 29 per cent of people in Mayo volunteered in the previous year compared with the state average of 21 per cent and the national average of 19 per cent.

We do have more retirement-aged residents than the state average, that’s true, but I believe our volunteering ethic can be traced back to our rural roots.

People in the regions pitch in and help because we love our communities and we love where we live.

In the spirit of helping our volunteers flourish, I’d like to draw attention to two recent grant rounds – the Community Environment Program for local on-ground environmental projects and the Stronger Communities Program for small capital projects.

Each program offers a guaranteed $150,000 to share among a maximum of 20 groups in our electorate. Eligible groups can apply for grants of between $2,500 and $20,000.

All the details are on my website at www.rebekhasharkie.com.au or you are welcome to call my office on 8398 5566.

There is also the Local Schools Community Fund which is offering $200,000 to share in Mayo, but only schools can make official applications so perhaps talk to your principal.

Our volunteers do so much to make our home a better place to live.

In the absence of effective policies on climate change at a national level, leadership for action has largely fallen to our local community environment groups.

They have cared for our bushlands and wetlands, revegetated and restored important habitats and worked with local landholders to protect waterways.

For the past three years I have been advocating for ongoing, reliable funding in order for these local groups to do their important work.

You see the same commitment in our sporting and community clubs.

So many of our halls were built in the early 1900s and so many of our sporting clubs were built a few decades later using the funds and the labour of local people.

But heritage buildings need special attention and unfortunately a number of our sporting facilities are falling behind modern standards for disability access and gender inclusiveness.

I will say that many of our facilities have been upgraded over the last three years, and it has been a privilege to work with those committees to get those upgrades over the line. However, there is always more to do.

It’s a tough job for volunteers to turn a vision into a viable project. I recognise that, and so I will continue to hold grant-writing workshops so we can build our capacity and support individual groups to see their goal become a reality.

I will also continue to advise of upcoming grant rounds and advocate for our projects.

Rebekha Sharkie
Federal Member for Mayo

Shop 1, 72 Gawler Street (PO Box 1601) Mount Barker SA 5251
Phone: (08) 8398 5566