Tuesday, 20 October 2020
Lyons Electorate: Community
I'd like to take this opportunity to recognise the resilience and strength of communities across my electorate. This has been a tough year. If anyone had said 12 months ago that you need to self-isolate and remember to practise social distancing, you'd have received a funny look. It would have been nonsense.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 16:24 to 16 : 38
Before the suspension I was saying that it would've been nonsense a year ago but now it's part of our language and, for the foreseeable future, a part of our way of life. What's come home to us is that social connection maintains both physical and mental health of people and communities. Our thoughts in recent months have of course been with Victorians in particular, who have endured lockdowns and missed those connections. Thankfully, with just one case recorded today, it seems the sacrifices that Victorians have made have finally paid off.
I spent the week between the sittings visiting towns and communities the length and breadth of my amazing electorate. First up was the Railton Neighbourhood Centre in the north-west, where I caught up with Di and her terrific team. They'd been looking forward to the Kentish Neighbour Day planned for Saturday, but it had to be cancelled due to stormy weather. In typical Tassie fashion, they won't let a little bad weather get them down and there will be another event to bring the community together before we know it.
In the rest of the week I travelled through Deloraine, Perth, Longford, Sorell and Bridgewater. On Sunday, a few hours before catching my flight to Canberra, and just hours after I had attended the Deloraine Roos grand final victory night—congratulations to the Deloraine Roos on their grand final victory in the NTFA—I attended the Brighton Alive Spring Food Festival at the Gagebrook Community Centre. This is an event that celebrates the start of spring. It was great to see so many community members getting together, with face painting for the kids, great food, the ever popular Snakes Alive stall with the tiger snakes and copperheads and the exhibition there, and community exhibitors providing advice on services. Well done to Helen and Shaynee from Jordan River Service and their team of fantastic volunteers, including Ian, Laurie, Elsie, Anna, Alan and Fred, for putting together such a fantastic day. I also had a chat with Melissa from Midway Point Neighbourhood House, which will be celebrating five years of its community garden next month, with a big day planned including a sausage sizzle, raffle, food stalls and garage sale.
While I was at the spring fair my team was 162 kilometres away at the other end of my electorate, attending our stall at the Evandale Market, which has recently started back up. They reported to me that the day started slowly, but it soon picked up, and people were really travelling through this fantastic market. The strength and resilience of these organisations and, indeed, all community groups across Australia, deserves to be recognised. I thank the people and volunteers who work so tirelessly for the vital role they play in supporting our regions through this most difficult time.