Ross Vasta keeps up momentum with plan to deliver more mental health services on the Bayside

As part of Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP’s ongoing plan to deliver more mental health services on the Bayside, this week he reconvened the Bayside Mental Health Working Group.

The over 20 attendees heard from Brisbane South PHN Senior HR Business Partner Melissa Binks and Head of Be Someone for Someone (Initiative of Feros Care) Joanne Winwood who presented social prescribing as an early intervention and prevention approach for youth mental health; a plan tailored to the Bayside.

Throwing his support behind this plan, Mr Vasta said the meeting addressed problematic loneliness amongst young people and how to help them to reconnect with their community through the potential of social prescribing.

“Social connections are the greatest protection against depression and are proven to reduce suicidal behaviour. Young people are the largest cohort of Australian’s experiencing problematic loneliness, so it is critical to not only be recognising this need but responding to it by delivering accessible support services,” Mr Vasta said.

“Taking urgent action to combat loneliness and social isolation amongst youth has widespread social and economic benefits for communities. It supports individuals’ mental health and quality of life and makes these communities stronger.

“Brisbane South PHN and Feros have proposed a co-designed model, seeking feedback from local mental health experts and community providers whose work extends right across our area including (but not limited to) children, men, women, young people, adults, older people, First Nations and LGBTQI+.

“With a deep understanding of what is happening and what needs to be done in our area specifically around early intervention for youth, their feedback has already played a fundamental role in formulating this plan.

“The mental health of our community cannot be underestimated and I look forward to continuing to work with Brisbane South PHN and Feros on this plan for the Bayside.”

Supporting mental health is a key priority of the Morrison Government, who made a $2.3 billion commitment to the sector as part of the recent 2021-22 Federal Budget. The Bayside Mental Health Roundtable forms part of Mr Vasta’s plan to ensure the funding included as part of the Budget will benefit the Bayside.

Do not hesitate to reach out for mental health support. Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through headspace (, Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (

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I’m happy to report the first Bonner Seniors’ Expo I hosted late last year was a huge success! So many people have told me how much they enjoyed the Expo and how much useful information they got out of it. Over 300 locals from across my electorate came along to enjoy the free entertainment and free information sessions, and to have a chat with the 55 stallholders who took part on the day.

Stallholders included local activity groups, local small businesses, and local service providers including aged care providers from across my electorate. People said the best part of the Expo was the sheer number and variety of stallholders brought together under one roof.

There were also information sessions run by representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, South Queensland Police, Helloworld Travel Wynnum, Tyack Health and more, which many people found useful.

Lastly can I also thank: the wonderful folks at Waterloo Bay Leisure Centre; local stores Juicy Secrets and Bare Traps for their fashion show; students from the Guardian Angels choir for their beautiful performance; the EACH Zumba group for their entertaining dances and for being up for an encore when the crowd demanded it; and TransitCare for providing free bus trips for people living further away.

I’m humbled by the community’s support for the first Bonner Seniors’ Expo. I can’t wait to bring it back even bigger and better next year.

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Just recently a young Manly West local, Nichola, wrote to me with a very upsetting story. She was out for a run on the local foreshore when she came across a dead hawksbill sea turtle. The turtle had died after eating a plastic bag. This is a common death for many turtles these days and it’s a horrible one.

The awful thing is that this turtle was just one of many dead marine animals Nichola has seen since she moved into the area only seven months ago. According to UNESCO, plastic debris kills over a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine animals every year. Meanwhile, according to Keep Queensland Beautiful data, there’s been an increase in litter around the bayside area. Clearly something must be done.

It heartens me to know so many locals who use their own time to go along the waterfront and pick up trash left behind by others. Local volunteer groups do regular litter clean-ups in the area. One constituent tells me he fills up bags of rubbish during daily walks, but when he returns the next day it’s all returned.

As Keep Queensland Beautiful CEO David Curtin said to me, if all we ever do is pick up after litterbugs, we will always be cleaning up—education is key. And there are already some fantastic education programs in place in my electorate.

The Moreton Bay Discovery Centre is a great educational resource for the community. I was happy to secure $450,000 for the Centre’s construction and fit-out. The Centre is an important tourism hub that will teach locals and visitors to the area how to help keep Moreton Bay healthy for local marine life. It will also run a Moreton Bay Discovers Children’s Programme when it opens. This is a great way to teach kids the importance of protecting the bay. Another great initiative in Bonner is the renowned Tangalooma EcoMarines program, which includes an Early Learning Centre program for pre-school children.

This Government supports moves by a number of states to phase out single-use plastic bags, including Queensland from July 1. We also welcome industry moves to do the same. Coles and Woolworths have announced they will no longer be using single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018. At the Manly Harbour Village Markets in my electorate, stallholders have reusable fabric shopping bags available for customers. The Manly Harbour Village Chamber of Commerce is also in discussions with the Village traders about using fabric shopping bags.

The Minister for Environment has said it’s inevitable that Australia will be free of single-use plastic bags over time. Until then, I intend to do my part. I will be launching a Clean Up the Bay initiative and working alongside local environmental groups to help keep the bayside beautiful and rubbish-free for marine life. I plan to get as many locals involved as possible. Together we can clean up our bay and teach and inspire others to do the same.

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Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta said it had been a productive and successful year for the Bonner electorate, with his constituents benefitting from a number of projects and initiatives he had fought for and delivered in the area.

Mr Vasta said he was pleased that many local projects he had delivered Federal funding for had been completed this year:

• Wynnum Manly Seagulls Clubhouse dressing sheds upgrade ($400,000);

• Manly Bowls Club second green enclosure ($1.15m);

• Mt Gravatt Bowls Club new surface and shade system ($178,000);

• Wynnum Manly Men’s Shed installation and fitting out of new sheds ($100,000);

• Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed solar panels and facility upgrades ($22,612);

• Eastside Community Church fencing, shade sails and path upgrade ($20,000);

• Hope Foundation new equipment and supplies ($70,000).

Mr Vasta said works were now underway, or were soon expected to be underway, for several more important infrastructure projects in Bonner:

• Rickertt Rd-Green Camp Rd intersection upgrade ($10m): construction expected to begin mid to late 2018;

• M1-Gateway Motorway merge upgrade at Eight Mile Plains: construction to begin early 2018 after the Commonwealth Games;

• NBN rollout: over one-third complete in Bonner, with all premises to have access by 2020;

• Moreton Bay Discovery Centre extension to house Moreton Bay Discovery Museum displays ($450,000);

• Australian Academy of Martial Arts Karate-Do Club Dojo training hall ($185,000).

Mr Vasta also secured funding for the following projects under Round 3 of the Stronger Communities Programme:

• Moreton Bay Girl Guides flooring upgrades ($8,901);

• Silky Oaks Children’s Haven multi-purpose community hub area makeover ($9,475);

• C&K Tingalpa & District Kindergarten toilet upgrades ($2,574);

• Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia Belmont gravel car park upgrade ($20,000);

• Manly Community Kindergarten sensory garden ($2,521);

• Wynnum General Gordon Community Pre-School and Kindergarten outdoor play space upgrade ($6,750);

• EDit (Ex-Defence Integration Team)’s work helping local ex-defence personnel back into the workforce ($6,000);

• Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed new awnings over verandah ($6,630).

In 2017 Mr Vasta launched the inaugural Bonner Volunteer Awards as well as the inaugural Bonner Bright Star Awards, both of which attracted many nominations and helped recognise outstanding local volunteers and local students in the electorate.

Mr Vasta held the first Bonner Seniors’ Expo to provide a helpful and entertaining event for older people who live in the electorate. The Expo was a success with hundreds of locals attending on the day.

Mr Vasta’s Coffee with a Cop community safety events also proved popular, with locals benefitting from the opportunity to chat face-to-face with local police and other organisations about keeping their homes and businesses protected from crime.

Mr Vasta said fixing the Lindum intersection would be one of his top priorities in 2018, and encouraged locals to sign his petition online. His petition, to be presented to Federal Parliament in February next year, has attracted over 2,500 signatures in a short amount of time.

He said he would continue to fight for important projects in his electorate and thanked those who had helped him deliver vital funding for the area.

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The inaugural Bonner Seniors’ Expo hosted yesterday by Federal Member Ross Vasta MP was a huge success, with over 300 locals from across the electorate attending and 55 stallholders participating on the day.

“I’m proud to support our valuable local seniors and help them find out what services they can access in the community and how,” Mr Vasta said.

“So many people have told me how much they’re enjoying the Expo and how much useful information they’re getting out of it. They’ve told me they’re hoping it becomes a regular event and I’m definitely looking at bringing it back even bigger and better next year!”

Lota residents Sydney and Carol Lawrence thanked Mr Vasta for holding the Expo and said the local area needed an event like it.

“It’s drawn some great crowds and hopefully it can become a feature event for the community,” Mr Lawrence said.

“We’ve discovered a lot of new things today that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”

Barry Tewes from Upper Mt Gravatt said he’d recently gotten on the pension, and had come along to the Expo to find out what was out there for him.

“I’ve discovered lots of things I didn’t know about and found out about some good activities. This is a great event that deserves to grow bigger next year. I hope it does,” Mr Tewes said.

There were several informative talks held throughout the day and information stalls run by local activity groups.

“It’s great to have all these different groups and organisations under the one roof for people to discover,” Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed committee member Bart McKnight said.

“This event will really benefit the people coming along today.”

Past President of the Lions Club of Brisbane MacGregor Kathy McCarthy said it was an excellent event with a great turnout.

“It was so good of Ross to organise it. There are so many stallholders here, and there’s such a good variety of stallholders too,” Mrs McCarthy said.

She encouraged seniors to attend their MacGregor Lions Health and Wellbeing Expo to be held in Mt Gravatt next March.

CEO of Tyack Health, Joel Tyack, spoke on how people can stay healthy and active in their older years.

“I think the Expo is a fantastic initiative. I can tell from people’s enthusiasm that they’re really enjoying it,” Mr Tyack said. 

“It’s a great way for people to get out and about and enjoy themselves.”

Sailability Bayside volunteer Geoff Grace said the Expo would help people know what was available in their local area.

“It was great of Ross to set this up and bring so many local organisations and businesses together at one event for people to find,” Mr Grace said.

Mr Vasta said he hoped the Expo had helped and entertained everyone who attended, and encouraged attendees to contact his office to share their feedback with him.

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I wanted to share an exciting event coming up in my electorate. Next month I’m going to be holding the very first Bonner Seniors’ Expo at Waterloo Bay Leisure Centre. It’ll be on from 10am to 4pm on the 22nd of November, and what a day it’s going to be.

The Expo will be a fantastic event for seniors with free entry, free entertainment, a lucky door prize, complimentary afternoon tea, and free bus transport for the whole day. There’ll be key note speakers from various government departments and community organisations who’ll be on hand to answer people’s questions. And there’ll also be several local small businesses set up on the day for people to browse and discover.

I’ve found many of my senior constituents often don’t know about all the services and programs that are available in the community to help them. So I’ve invited representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, NBN Co, South Queensland Police, Hearing Well Australia, FSG Australia, Carers Queensland, Metro South Health and more to come along and let people know what they have access to.

I’ve also invited a number of local aged care providers who’ll be providing lots of great information about seniors’ care options in the community. This includes Janoah Gardens, Nazareth Care Wynnum, Regis Wynnum, Anglicare Southern Queensland, Mackenzie Aged Care, Aveo Manly Gardens and more.

There’ll also be stalls for Wynnum Manly Meals on Wheels, Wynnum Bowls Club, Manly Bowls Club, Sailability Bayside, Mt Gravatt Mens’ Shed, Port of Brisbane Rotary and many more local groups. Tyack Health from Manly West will be holding a session on how seniors can stay active and healthy. Helloworld Travel Wynnum will be providing travel advice for people thinking of taking a trip for the holidays.

All up there’ll be over 40 stalls, but that’s not all. There’ll be a bunch of entertainment on over the course of the day. First up is a fashion show showcasing all the latest designs from local clothes shop Juicy Secrets and local shoe outlet Bare Traps. Next is a performance from the Zumba dance group from the EACH Social Activity Club, who I’ve spoken about before here. And finally students from the Guardian Angels choir will be singing during afternoon tea.

It’s going to be a fantastic day and thanks to everyone in the community who’s helped me make the Bonner Seniors’ Expo a reality. Special thanks goes to TransitCare and Community Flyer for providing free bus trips for people attending! I can’t wait to see everyone on the day and I’m proud to support the local seniors’ community with this very special event.

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Local residents from the bayside and Gumdale-Wakerley areas joined officers from Wynnum Police, as well as volunteers from Crime Stoppers and Volunteers in Policing, at Coffee with a Cop hosted by Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, in Manly West last Saturday.

Coffee with a Cop gave members of the community an opportunity to get to know their local police officers, discuss with them their experiences with crime, and seek advice on protecting their homes and properties from lawbreakers.

“I have received a fair amount of feedback from my constituents on local crime and safety. It’s a particularly vital issue for residents in the Gumdale-Wakerley area,” Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta said.

“This Coffee with a Cop was designed to start a conversation on crime in the area, and allow residents and local law enforcement to share their ideas on how to reduce and deter crime in the neighbourhood.”

Mr Vasta said the main issues of concern in the area were break-and-enters and hooning.

“It was great to see so many people taking the time to discuss local crime and help make our community safer,” Mr Vasta said.

“I will be using feedback from this Coffee with a Cop to develop a community-based program aimed at reducing crime and making the bayside and Gumdale-Wakerley neighbourhoods safer for everyone.”

“I will also be hosting more Coffee with a Cop sessions elsewhere in Bonner later this year, so stay tuned.”

Mr Vasta encouraged members of the public to complete his online Community Safety Survey at

He also thanked members of Volunteers in Policing for offering free security assessments for homes and businesses in the area, and encouraged locals to contact Wynnum Police Station for more information.

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Last year I spoke here about important projects in my electorate the Coalition Government has committed to support. Today I’d like to update the Chamber about two projects that will boost sports and tourism in Brisbane’s bayside area. I’m pleased to report that work is progressing well at the Wynnum Manly Seagulls Clubhouse and the Moreton Bay Discovery Centre.

My flagship commitment last year was to the Wynnum Manly Seagulls for a much-needed upgrade of their dressing rooms. The Coalition pledged $400,000 in funding which has since come through. The Wynnum Manly Seagulls Football Club CEO, Hanan Laban, has told me the project is now ahead of schedule.

This is excellent news for local football and sporting groups in the bayside area. Hanan was kind enough to give me a tour of the project site last year. He told me footy and sports groups of all ages use their dressing room facilities. The project will open up access to many more groups, including women’s sports groups thanks to the addition of female changing stalls and facilities. 

I’m proud to have delivered for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls Football Club, a not-for-profit organisation that relies on community support to operate. The project will make the clubhouse a sporting hub for the community and bring more people to the bayside area. I can’t wait to be there for the grand opening next month.

Another project that will attract more visitors to the bayside is the extension of the Moreton Bay Discovery Centre at Manly Harbour Village. The Coalition has committed $450,000 to the centre to construct an extension that will house the Moreton Bay Discovery Museum. The deed of agreement for the project has now been signed and work is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Chair of the Moreton Bay Discovery Centre, David Farley, tells me the Moreton Bay Discovery Museum will house displays showcasing the natural, social and cultural history of Moreton Bay. It’s a great addition to the new Wynnum Manly Visitor Information Centre and Jetty Café at William Gunn Jetty, and will help attract more tourists to the area.

I can’t wait to see these vital projects completed. I’ll continue to provide updates on these projects and others in my electorate as they progress.

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The Bayside Police Citizens Youth Club in Lota and the wider community will see the benefits of $558,000 in funding towards upgrades of the local PCYC facility, as well as the upgrade of equipment for sections that currently service the local community, under a new commitment from the Turnbull Coalition Government.

Making the announcement today at Bayside PCYC, Liberal National Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta said he was pleased to be able to make the commitment that would allow the organisation to carry out much-needed repairs and maintenance.

“PCYC Bayside has been helping both young people and seniors in the bayside area for 49 years and I’m proud today to be able to make this commitment to an organisation that does so much good for the community,” Mr Vasta said.

“This funding will go toward vital upgrades that will ensure the club’s future. It will also ensure community groups that make use of the facility will continue to have access to quality equipment and resources.”

Bayside PCYC branch manager Tina Bowen welcomed the funding announcement.

“For now the efforts of the committee and management is to ensure structural safety to all those utilising this facility,” Mrs Bowen said.

“Upgrades will include repairing our driveway, the installation of fans in the main gymnastics hall, the replacement of all gymnastics matting to meet current requirements, and fixing our roof which is currently leaking.”

“We will also upgrade our kitchen so that it can be used by external community groups and used for the delivery of healthy nutrition and heart smart programs. We also intend to establish a gym facility.”

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