Enter to win a BBQ meat tray for Australia day 2024!


Chuck a shrimp on the barbie and get ready to celebrate Australia Day in Bonner!

Ross Vasta MP, Federal Member for Bonner, is giving Bonner locals a chance to win a BBQ meat tray from a local butcher, this Australia Day.

From Tim Tams and meat pies, to good mates and cricket, what better way to celebrate what makes Australia great than over an Aussie summer’s BBQ?

“I am partnering with three local butchers to give Bonner residents the chance to win everything they need for a spread to impress,” Mr Vasta said.

“When it comes to high quality meat and seafood we are spoilt for choice in Bonner.

“And there isn’t much better than sharing a good BBQ feed with friends and family on Australia Day.”

Listening to small businesses, Mr Vasta knows they are currently doing it tough.

“Small and family businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Mr Vasta said.

“It’s always important to buy local first, but even more so during the cost-of-doing-business crisis and to help with the recent storm recovery.”

“My Australia Day BBQ Meat Tray competition is a way to support both Bonner locals and Bonner businesses doing it tough.”

Mr Vasta will continue fighting for small businesses and encourage residents to shop local and buy local.

To enter the Bonner Australia Day Meat Tray Competition, visit https://www.rossvasta.com.au/enter-to-win-a-bbq-meat-tray-this-australia-day-2/ and tell Ross ‘Your favourite thing to do on Australia Day.’

Entries will close 5pm Tuesday 23 January 2024, with the winners to receive their BBQ meat tray in time for Australia Day.


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90 SECONDS: Immigration Detention

I’m in shock and I’m in disbelief that I have to be standing here today to give this speech. I’m outraged.

Eighty-four hardened criminals, noncitizens, have been released into our community from detention.

Rapists, paedophiles, sex offenders and murderers are now free in our country.

The worst part is that the federal government was told in June this year that this could be a possibility, but, instead of working towards protecting Australians and having a plan if the High Court overturned this 20-year-old precedent, they have put rushed legislation through that hasn’t even been written for 24 hours.

That in itself is unbelievable considering the types of criminals that have now released from detention.

To have a man who brutally shot a pregnant woman and then blew up her body with explosives walking free in this country is disgusting.

As a father of two young boys, to know that a man who raped a 10-year-old boy is no longer in detention is unthinkable.

Australians deserve to be put first.

Australians deserve to be safe and they deserve to be protected. We in the opposition are prepared to stay here in parliament for as long as it takes to get this right.

We are prepared to put Australians first.


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5 MINUTES: Youth Crime in Bonner

Every person has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

They have the right to feel at ease when they walk down the street with their family to go to the park or visit a mate’s place.

They have the right to feel comfortable when they go to the shops, no matter what time of the day or night. They have the right to know, when they go to sleep at night, that all will be okay in the morning when they wake up.

But, in Queensland, those rights to safety, protection and security have fast been slipping away, including in my electorate of Bonner.

I shouldn’t have to be standing here giving this speech. One of the most important roles of any government is to protect its people no matter what side of politics you are from. This principle is at the very foundation of all nations and states around the world.

Yet there are too many people in Queensland and in my electorate of Bonner who just don’t feel safe, like Lama from Rochedale.

Lama’s house was broken into. Her bag, wallet and car were all stolen. When she went down into her garage to check on her car, she fell, breaking her ankle.

Lama was 12 weeks pregnant. No-one should have to go through the stress and trauma of having their house broken into, especially not when they are pregnant and focusing on their health and the health of their unborn child.

And Yu-Ying from Rochedale told me her young children don’t feel safe and are struggling to sleep at night because of the high number of break-ins in the area.

Yu-Ying said one of the main conversations her children are having at school is about how their classmates’ homes are getting broken into. This is causing them to feel stressed and anxious.

The thought of, ‘What if our house next?’ is running through their minds and making Yu-Ying’s children feel vulnerable. That apprehension is not allowing them to focus on school, which is so important, especially in the early years of learning.

Simply put, this isn’t good enough.

Unfortunately the situation is not unique to Rochedale. John from Mansfield recently had his house broken into at 1.30 pm, in broad daylight. Three teenage boys broke into his house, broke down the door, without concern or fear of repercussions.

And why should they fear? With watered-down Queensland crime laws and a lack of resources and support of our incredibly hardworking police, a slap on the wrist is all these youths will get, and they know it.

It’s not just households who are being targeted. Local sporting clubs and community groups are also in the firing line of the Queensland youth crime crisis.

The Wynnum Wolves Football Club have been rebuilding their clubhouse and grounds after the devastating impacts of the February 2022 floods. Just last week their newly renovated dressing rooms and amenities were vandalised and graffitied.

This deliberate destruction of the club facilities caused $20,000 worth of damage. Volunteers, parents, players and club members are heartbroken and frustrated, as this is not the first time the Wynnum Wolves Football Club has been the victim of youth crime.

Whilst all these stories of youth crime have been horrible, there was one last year that still sticks with me.

A Hemmant man, a father of three and a loving husband, tragically was killed after being hit by a stolen car driven by a 15-year-old teen. When will this end? When will people be able to stop living in fear of being broken into because of youth crime?

When will sporting groups not have to worry about facilities being damaged and destroyed? And when will families never again have to say goodbye to a loved one who has been killed as a result of youth crime?

It’s time for change in Queensland, and we’re coming up to one year until the Queensland state elections, when Queenslanders will have a choice.

They can choose to re-elect a state Labor government who have created this youth crime crisis and who have admitted that they cannot fix it themselves, or they can back a David Crisafulli led government, who will be tough on crime, who will put Queenslanders first and who are determined to make sure that every Queenslander is safe and secure in their own home. It’s safe to say I know who I’ll be backing.

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90 SECONDS: Port of Brisbane

The port of Brisbane in my electorate of Bonner is an economic powerhouse.

Last financial year alone, the port contributed over $7.8 billion to the Queensland economy and supported around 63,000 jobs.

But there’s just one thing missing that would truly make the port of Brisbane and South-East Queensland the logistical capital of Australia, and that’s tunnel vision.

By creating a dedicated tunnel connecting the port of Brisbane to Ebenezer in Ipswich, which would then connect to the inland rail, we would unlock the economic potential of the port and make our roads safer for Brisbane families.

Currently, over 97 per cent of freight leaves the port by truck—that’s right, 97 per cent—causing increased road degradation and traffic congestion, as well as noise and air pollution for Brisbane locals.

My tunnel vision could take 13 million trucks off Brisbane roads by 2050. That would save $195 million in congestion costs each year, meaning less time and money spent on the road and more time with families and loved ones.

It would also add 1,200 new jobs per year between now and 2045 and allow container freight to leave the port of Brisbane and arrive in Melbourne within 24 hours—all of this while saving $250 million in reducing emissions associated with road-to-rail switch.

Four years ago, the Queensland Labor government pocketed $20 million of federal government funding and have still not released the Port of Brisbane Strategic Rail Access Study.

In fact, they have only used around $4.4 million of the $20 million allocated to determine how freight could be sent to the inland rail network from the port of Brisbane.

It’s time for the Queensland Labor government to get serious about connecting the port of Brisbane to inland rail.

They are wasting time, wasting opportunity and disadvantaging Queenslanders for generations to come. I urge the Queensland government to release the study to the public. Let’s make tunnel vision a reality.


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90 SECONDS: Disability Services – Multicap

I’m excited to update the House on the remarkable initiatives undertaken by Makeables in Tingalpa.

On a mission to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, Makeables is a not-for-profit disability employer affiliated with the Multicap organisation.

Currently, they have 80 supported employees at their workplace, with an additional 30 to 40 students attending each week from local special schools to gain skills and work experience.

Makeables’ goal is to help as many of their employees as possible to transition into open employment.

Conducting a variety of tasks to help in the assembly, packing and finishing of production and distribution, employees are offering tangible benefits to local businesses in our community.

One such example of this is employees from Makeables helping to pack between 20 and 30 pallets a day of potato chips PepsiCo.

Working at Makeables is also helping improve everyday life skills of people with disabilities, such as communication, problem-solving and working in a team, further allowing them to boost their confidence and thrive.

I am happy to say Multicap and Makeables recently received a Stronger Communities grant, which they used to implement six custom-height adjustable workstations for their employees.

During a recent visit, I had the pleasure of speaking with Nick, the employment operations manager at Multicap, and it was heartening to learn from Nick that the Stronger Communities grant [time expires]


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90 SECONDS: Financial Literacy in Schools

I’m excited to update the House on the progress of my motion to make financial literacy a compulsory part of the national curriculum.

Since I introduced this motion, I have had an incredible amount of positive feedback from my electorate of Bonner.

Mums, dads, schoolteachers, principals, accountants, business owners and local school students have said to me that not only is financial literacy in schools a good idea but it must become compulsory.

Local mum Helen told me that, if financial literacy was compulsory when she attended school, she believes that it would have given her the skills to make better financial decisions to help her family get ahead, helped to reduce financial stress and even potentially reduced fights about finances in her home.

I also heard from Bonner local school student Jake, who told me that personal finances are not spoken about in his house.

Jake said that he wished that financial literacy was already compulsory in schools so he would be confident in how to manage his money as he enters the workforce.

It is our responsibility to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the skills that they need to be confident in making smart financial decisions so that they can get ahead.

I look forward to my next update to the House as I start my Bonner schools financial literacy tour.

To learn more about the motion to make financial literacy compulsory in schools, click here

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3 MINUTES: CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT – Bayside United Football Club

I think we can all agree that it is beyond exciting to see our Matildas make it through to the quarterfinals of the 2023 Women’s Soccer World Cup.

They were on fire last night, and what incredible ambassadors they are for Australia and for women in sport. But I rise today to update the House on what I believe is even more exciting soccer news for my electorate of Bonner.

I’m happy to report that the Bayside United Football Club female change rooms and parents room are only weeks away from completion.

Located in the great suburb of Lota, the Bayside United Football Club has a proud history of being a club for the people, and it is an integral part of our local community.

Through my advocacy, and working alongside the Bayside United Football Club, I was able to deliver $580,000 in federal government funding to help the club expand and cater for female athletes and parents. When this project first started there were no dedicated female change rooms or parents room.

This meant there was no privacy for female players or referees when they needed to change in or out of sports gear and no area for parents if they needed privacy with young children.

That is why I fought for this much-needed community infrastructure upgrade to help ensure women and parents feel comfortable and safe when attending games at Bayside United Football Club.

To know this project is very near completion is great news and a win for our local community, especially as female participation in soccer continues to grow to new heights.

The opening of the female change rooms and parents room will also be just in time for the Super 6 summer series, and this year the club aims to have at least 50 per cent women and girls teams in the series, which will include mum-and-daughter teams along with dad-and-daughter teams.

I have to say, the completion of this upgrade and the new life of the club wouldn’t be possible without the passion and dedication of the new club president, Andrew Dale, as well as the hardworking committee members and people like the women and girls technician director, Theo.

I’m also excited—or, should I say, slightly apprehensive—to share with the House that Andrew has challenged me to a pizza cook-off at the club.

It might have been a while since my restaurant days, but, as the former owner of a small business called Elio’s Restaurant, and being of Italian heritage, I’m hoping I can remember a trick or two!

I look forward to keeping the House informed and, more importantly, to seeing more women playing soccer at the Bayside United Football Club.

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5 MINUTES: Childcare Subsidy

Childcare services play a crucial role in enabling parents to work, to support their families and to actively contribute to society.

In many ways, affordable, high-quality child care forms the cornerstone of economic prosperity and social and emotional wellbeing.

However, despite the government’s claim that Australian families are better off under their childcare scheme, it’s disappointing to see that so many Bonner families are still hurting when it comes to paying childcare fees.

A perfect example of these families is the story of Julie; her husband, Trent; and their two children. Like many, Julie moved from the UK to Australia in search of a better life.

Chasing the Aussie dream, Julie and her husband have dedicated their lives to building a better future for their family.

Both working parents, Julie and Trent have relished in the opportunity to work hard, get ahead, improve their lifestyle and achieve a sense of financial security whilst raising their two children.

For many years their efforts were rewarded, and they managed to avoid relying on government assistance and took pride in their self-sufficiency and hard work paying off.

Despite their efforts, Julie recently reached out to me concerned over the cost-of-living crisis. Increased interest rates, higher electricity prices and higher taxes have put significant financial pressure on Julie and her family.

In their pursuit of financial relief, Julie and Trent turned to the government’s childcare subsidy scheme.

This scheme was promised to increase their disposable income and provide much-needed financial support during these challenging times.

However, this has not been case. Despite the subsidy, their childcare centre increased fees not once but twice this year, by an additional $22 per day per child.

This has meant that they are in fact worse off, in Julie’s own words, and their savings are non-existent. The reason the centre increased fees to this extent was due to inflation and the government’s wage rise.

We all value the hard work and professionalism of childcare workers—especially in identifying early learning difficulties, as this early intervention can change the course of a young person’s life—and of course childcare workers need to be paid fairly, but there is a delicate balance that needs to be achieved.

Raising wages does not automatically mean Australians are better off. In fact, it can drive up the cost of living for them and others.

So, instead of Julie and Trent choosing to have their son attend child care an extra day a week so Julie could work and earn more money for the family, they have decided it was cheaper and better for Julie to stay at home with their son.

Their story is not an isolated one; it represents the struggles faced by many families in Bonner and across Australia who find themselves falling into a cycle of financial stress despite their best efforts to secure a brighter future for their children.

This is simply not good enough. The government’s measures, even though they were implemented with the best of intentions, are clearly leaving everyday middle Australians behind. We were once known the world over as the country of hard work, reward and opportunity.

But, as Julie said, it feels as though, no matter how hard you work, there is no benefit, there are no savings, there is no getting ahead and there is no reward.

We cannot leave hard-working Australians behind.


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90 SECONDS: Priceless House

Becoming a mother should be an exciting and joyful time in a woman’s life, but when a woman becomes pregnant without a supportive partner, when facing financial difficulties or without a healthy home environment that joy can quickly turn to fear and dread.

That’s why organisations like Priceless House in my electorate of Bonner are so important.

Located in Mount Gravatt, Priceless House is a beacon of hope for women feeling scared, confused or overwhelmed when confronted with an unexpected pregnancy.

Run by a dedicated team, including 30 volunteers, Priceless House offers free integrated pregnancy support, counselling, mentoring and education to ensure women have the resources they need to make informed decisions.

During my recent visit to Priceless House, the staff shared with me the story of Jess. Jess became pregnant whilst in a relationship.

Unfortunately, her relationship broke down and she was left feeling scared and unsure about her future.

While searching for solutions, Jess came across Priceless House, which she reached out to for support.

Not only did Jess find a safe and welcoming space; she also made lasting friendships.

With guidance and support from Priceless House, Jess felt confident in becoming the mother to a beautiful baby girl, Melody.

I want to say a massive thankyou to the team at Priceless House.


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90 SECONDS: Mr Alan Burge

 As parliamentarians we have the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life, and today I would like to share the story of a truly remarkable and talented man, Mr Alan Burge.

Alan is an 83-year-old man who is still tuning pianos by ear.

From a young age, Alan loved music, but it wasn’t until a friend asked him to tune an untunable piano that his desire and passion for this unique skill set began.

Reading all the workshop manuals he could and working with expert piano tuners, Alan’s talent for tuning and love of pianos led him to become an expert and then to be elected as secretary of the piano tuners guild.

It wasn’t long before he became the go-to man for tuning pianos in South-East Queensland.

Alan has tuned pianos for celebrities like David Helfgott, as well as for the Brisbane Jazz Club and countless community and local music teachers.

In fact, Alan has been expertly tuning and helping me restore a 1907 Australian made Beale piano in my electorate office in Wynnum.

By doing so, we have preserved this unique piece of history that would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

I’ve always loved listening to the piano, but Alan’s knowledge and expertise has inspired me to admire and appreciate the craftsmanship of pianos just as much as the music they make.

As ABBA said, ‘Without a song or a dance, what are we?’ So I say, Alan, thank you for the music and the joy that you have brought to thousands of people with your passion for tuning pianos.

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