Member for Bonner Ross Vasta has praised the initiative of Wynnum locals to establish a community garden in the green space near the Woolworths shopping centre on Florence Street.

Mr Vasta said he had been approached by local business owners, Charlene Lestley from Crystal Rose Gallery and Cherie Attias from Reel Cutz for Men, with their idea for the community garden.

“I’m proud to put my name to this petition and throw my full support behind a community garden at Wynnum Central,” Mr Vasta said.

The petition has gathered 150 signatures in less than two weeks.

Mrs Lestley said she, her husband Peter and son Barry were overwhelmed by the support from Wynnum locals.

“I think a community garden would be a great way to beautify the area and bring people together,” Mrs Lestley said.

Mrs Attias said the community garden was part of the new Wynnum Merchant Movement founded by herself and Mrs Lestley.

“This garden will give people purpose and draw people back to the area. Many of my clients would like a space where they can give back to the community along with others,” Mrs Attias said.

To sign the petition, visit Crystal Rose Gallery on Edith St, Wynnum.

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There’s been some big news for Bonner recently! The winner of Queensland’s best fish and chip shop was one of our very own in Wynnum West. Fish and Chip Co was named overall winner of the 2018 Australian Fish and Chip Awards at the Queensland Seafood Industry Awards, or the Seafood Industry Oscars as they like to be called.

It was great to have a mobile office outside Fish and Chip Co the other day. I had a good chat with owner Demetri about their successes, and the challenges of running a business in the current environment.

I know a little something about these challenges. I ran a chain of Italian restaurants for a number of years. I understand how every little thing adds up. Decisions made at the Federal level mean the difference between surviving or having to lay off more staff for millions of small businesses across Australia.

That’s why I’m happy to say yet again this Coalition government has delivered for Aussie small businesses – small businesses like Fish and Chip Co that employ almost seven million Australians, 408,000 in Queensland.

Last month we passed legislation to extend the $20,000 instant asset write off another 12 months to 30th June 2019. Local small business owners continue to tell me how much this measure has helped them. Well over a thousand local businesses in Bonner have benefitted from the instant asset write off alone.

Then there are the tax cuts for small and medium businesses we delivered last week. Small and medium-sized businesses will now pay less tax five years earlier than planned. This is great news for over 15,000 local businesses in Bonner and over three million businesses across Australia.

By fast-tracking this tax relief for businesses in Bonner, we will make a more immediate difference to the individual businesses and the people who work for them. It means more money for local business owners to employ more staff. When business owners like Demetri can keep more of their own money, they have more to invest back into their business. That means more jobs, increased productivity and growth.

This legislation builds on the first stage of company tax relief we delivered in May last year. It stands in stark contrast to Labor’s plans for higher taxes for small businesses, along with higher taxes on income, savings, property, power and more—around $200 billion in higher taxes!

I look forward to seeing this government deliver more relief and support for small businesses like Fish and Chip Co in my electorate. Congratulations again to Fish and Chip Co for their well-deserved award! It’s always great to see outstanding small businesses in Bonner recognised for their high quality. I will just say their fish and chips are truly some of the best I’ve ever had!

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I’ve always made the issues that are important to my constituents my priority, and one of the most important is access to healthcare. For my constituents on Brisbane’s bayside, affordable access to MRIs has been an issue for some time.

A few weeks ago I had a very informative meeting with the CEO of Queensland X-Ray, Dr Robert Clarke. I met with Dr Clarke to discuss the fact that Bonner is one of the most under serviced Primary Health Networks for MRIs in Australia. There are only 0.5 Medicare eligible MRIs per 100,000 of the population. This represents the equal third most underserviced area in the country.

My constituents in Wynnum and surrounding areas have to drive around 20 kilometres to attend the nearest fully funded MRI unit in inner-metropolitan Brisbane. That’s about a 40 minute drive for potentially lifesaving scans for cancer, stroke, heart, and other medical conditions. And in most instances, there are extremely long waitlists for Medicare eligible outpatient scans. The latest shows patients can expect a 70 day wait for an appointment at the PA Hospital.

Dr Clarke and I agree that a full Medicare licence is needed for the MRI unit at their Wynnum practice. A full MRI licence would allow them to charge MRI services to Medicare, significantly reducing the cost of MRI scans to patients.

This would help alleviate the burden on other providers. Also, if Queensland X-Ray Wynnum were to receive an MRI licence, they would commit to provide same day bulk billed appointments. This would help provide affordable and equitable healthcare to people who need it most in Bonner.

The health and wellbeing of my constituents is paramount so tonight I’m throwing my full support behind Queensland X-Ray Wynnum’s campaign for a full MRI licence.

The Government has invited applications for up to 20 additional new MRI licences across the country. This will be a highly competitive public application process. No doubt there’ll be many others applying for consideration for a licence, and a number of representatives going into bat for them.

Well I’m prepared to fight to the end to secure a full licence for my bayside constituents! I’ve already met with Minister Hunt and shared with him the facts I’ve shared tonight. I want to thank the Minister for his time and hearing out stories from my constituents who would benefit so much if the MRI at their local practice were to be fully subsidised.

The Government has already announced ten locations that will receive Medicare subsidised MRIs from November 1st this year. The total of 30 sites that will receive subsidised MRIs will provide more than 400,000 Australians with access to lifesaving scans, with a total investment of $175 million. It’s all part of this Government’s commitment to providing high quality health services when and where they’re needed.

Our commitment to 30 additional sites will bring the total number of fully Medicare eligible MRI machines in Australia to 204. That represents a more than 17 per cent increase across Australia. That comes on top of our boost earlier this year to Medicare support for a new MRI scan for prostate cancer checks helping 26,000 men each year, as well as a new Medicare listing for 3D breast cancer checks helping around 240,000 women each year. We’ve guaranteed Medicare spending, which is increasing each and every year.

I’m campaigning hard on behalf of my constituents and asking for strong consideration to be given for a full Medicare MRI licence for my bayside constituents. I’m hoping to be able to provide a positive update in future! But rest assured I’ll be fighting every step of the way to deliver lifesaving, affordable and accessible MRI services for my constituents.

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Last month I spoke about one of the extraordinary volunteers in my electorate, Irene Edwards. Earlier this year Irene received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her volunteer work at Wynnum Manly Meals on Wheels and other local organisations.

Today I want to talk about her husband Ken Edwards, also OAM. Ken is the President of the Wynnum Manly Meals on Wheels. Thanks to Ken’s efforts and other Meals on Wheels volunteers, and the support of the community, construction on the brand new Wynnum Manly Meals on Wheels kitchen and community centre at Wakerley has begun. It’s been a decades-long journey for Ken and the others. It’s a great story I wanted to share, one that others can take inspiration from.

I’m proud to support an outstanding organisation like Meals on Wheels. I think we all know someone Meals on Wheels has helped, whether it’s themselves or an aged, frail or disabled relative or friend. I very much support efforts to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable members of our society; the Coalition government’s announcement of the aged care royal commission this week was very welcome.

But getting back to Meals on Wheels, the volunteers at Wynnum Manly have made such a huge difference at the local level. I turned the first sod at the new Wakerley site last Friday. Let me tell you, seeing the happiness on Ken’s face and how excited everyone was, it really made me proud to have secured them $300,000 in federal funding at the last election to fit out and equip their new facility. As well as a $20,000 Stronger Communities grant they used to purchase new kitchen equipment.

I also have to commend Brisbane City Council and my colleague Councillor Ryan Murphy for making the site available for lease to the Meals on Wheels.

These are significant investments from government. But compare it to everything the local community’s put toward getting the new Meals on Wheels facility up and running. Since 1995, they’ve fundraised tirelessly to make their new and improved home a reality. Together they’ve raised $2.8 million. What an achievement!

In Ken’s words, it’s been a very hard, dogged slug for this length of time. The hard work and perseverance from everyone involved has been such an inspiration. And I’m glad to say the benefits will flow on to the whole community.

The centre’s state-of-the-art commercial kitchen will allow the Meals on Wheels volunteers to cook, prepare and deliver more hot meals to more homes in the community. That means more people that will receive help to stay independent and remain in their own homes for longer. The fully-equipped kitchen will also ensure the Meals on Wheels can prepare meals to their usual high standards.

But that’s not all. The centre will also have many other features that local groups will be able to use for seminars, public meetings, training workshops, and other community events and activities.

There’ll be a community meeting room available for hire that can hold up to 150 people. Training spaces will be available, as well as a board room with a complete audio visual fit out, volunteer facilities, a veranda café, and a separate community kitchen.

Sporting spaces will also be available to sports groups in the area. Brisbane City Council is planning to build netball courts behind the new facility. These will be complemented by a canteen, dressing room and toilets underneath the new facility.

I’m so proud to be part of this government that recognises the importance of investing in vital community infrastructure projects like this. The new Meals on Wheels centre will help those in the community who need it most. It’s brought the community together, and when it’s completed it will serve to strengthen community ties. And it will also provide a boost to the local economy by creating dozens of construction jobs.

I can’t wait to see the completed kitchen and community centre and join everyone on opening day. I have to thank Ken and the rest of the Meals on Wheels volunteers, and everyone who donated to this worthy project, for their unwavering dedication. Thanks to your efforts the bayside community will benefit from this fantastic facility for years to come.

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Member for Bonner Ross Vasta today encouraged local residents to register to be an organ and tissue donor during DonateLife Week 2018 (Sunday 29 July to Sunday 5 August).

“The majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation. Now we’re asking them to make that support count by registering to be a donor at,” Mr Vasta said.

As part of DonateLife Week, Mr Vasta invited aspiring policeman and Iona College student Lachlan Wallis to Wynnum Police Station to meet local police officers, and to talk about his experiences as a transplant recipient.

Lachlan underwent a liver transplant at eight years old. He now organises visits to hospitals in his spare time, where he helps other young patients going through the same thing he did.

“I’m glad to be there for kids, to give them someone to talk to who knows what they’re going through. My parents also come along and chat with their parents and give them advice. In a way, it’s my way of saying thank you to my donor and their family, who I never got to meet,” Lachlan said.

“It’s so important to have a chat with your loved ones about your wishes, and to make sure you’ve joined the Australian Organ Donor Register. This leaves your family in no doubt of your decision to be a donor, should the unfortunate situation arise.”

Lachlan’s father David Wallis said DonateLife Week was an opportunity to have a tough conversation with family early.

“Having this talk before the time comes, as painful as it may be, takes a lot of the pressure off. If you’ve had that chat with your parents or your friends or others close to you, when that time comes, you’ll know what they want to do, and they’ll know the same for you,” Mr Wallis said.

Mr Vasta said registration was crucial, and that joining the Donor Register online took less than a minute.

“In Australia, 90 per cent of families consent to donation when their loved one is a registered donor. When they are unsure, only 40 per cent of families consent. Put simply, more Australian lives could be saved if more people registered to be a donor,” Mr Vasta said.

“Once you’ve registered, we encourage you to discuss this with your family so they know you’re a registered donor.”

“Currently 1,400 Australians are waitlisted for a transplant and more than 11,000 people are on dialysis of whom many would benefit from a kidney transplant.”

DonateLife Week is Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation and is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority. Community events and activities are held across the country and Australians are encourage to support the DonateLife Week campaign online and sharing information about donation through social media using the campaign hashtags #donatelife #whatareyouwaitingfor and #makeitcount.

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Wynnum Manly Rotary Club Community Family Fun Day – 20 May 2018

Sunday 20th MAY 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm

FREE COMMUNITY FAMILY FUN DAY – this is a chance for families to get together, have some fun and learn about how to stay safe in the community!!

Enjoy Becoming Involved and Staying Involved at our local Community Family Fun Day where we bring the community together for education and fun.
Wynnum Manly Rotary Club with the support of local businesses and local community organisations is hosting a FREE Community Family Fun Day at Bandstand Park on the Lower Esplanade Wynnum from 10 am until 2 pm on Sunday 20th May 2018.

This is an initiative by Rotary with the focus on reducing crime and violence and improving the safety of our community through education, support and access to local services at a fun day out with family and friends.

There are loads of FREE fun activities to be enjoyed by all and a wonderful opportunity to meet members from our local Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Services who continue to offer great support across the community.

• Sausage Sizzle • Fresh Fruit
• Popcorn • Face Painting
• Jumping Castle • Balloon Twister
• Photo Booth • Farm Animals
• AFL Footy Handball • Tug of War
• Sack Races • Egg and Spoon Races
• LIVE Music
• Show Bag 
• Beyond Blue • Kindergarten Art Activities
• Make It Home Initiative
• Volunteering in Policing

Wynnum Manly Rotary Club President Selwyn Payne says “Wynnum Manly Rotary Club is committed to strengthening family safety through continued education and support and believes that celebrating Family Fun Day with access to information and fun activities is an important first step in helping to keep our local community aware and safe”.

For further media information contact: 
Jo-Anne O’Connor, Wynnum Manly Rotary Club
Mobile: 0407 522 347

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Wynnum General Gordon upgrades outdoor learning and play area thanks to Federal grant

Wynnum General Gordon Community Kindergarten today thanked Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, for helping them secure a $6,750 grant to upgrade their outdoor area through the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme.

Mr Vasta visited the kindergarten to inspect the completed outdoor area.

“It’s great to see this amazing new play area for the kids. It’s so important for children to have outdoor spaces to play and learn in,” Mr Vasta said.

“Well done to Wynnum General Gordon for providing matching funding for this project and seeing it through.”

Wynnum General Gordon co-director and teacher Tracy Joyce said that with the additional Federal funding they were able to open up the tree canopy and put in new turf and a new automatic sprinkler system.

“Research shows how important outdoor learning and physical activity is for children. This project gives our children beautiful natural grass to run around on while fostering a love for our natural environment,” Mrs Joyce said.

“Thank you Mr Vasta for supporting our kindergarten. Lots of families have complimented us on the new space and said how beautiful it looks now.”

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Brisbane City Council is getting on with the job of ensuring residents get home quicker and safer, with the final designs released for a major upgrade of the Green Camp Road corridor. 

Infrastructure Chairman Amanda Cooper said the $28 million upgrade project, which was jointly funded with the Australian Government, would deliver vital infrastructure for our growing population. 

“The Green Camp Road upgrade is a priority investment as part of our $1.3 billion package of more than 90 suburban road projects across the city, which will tackle traffic congestion while also catering for future growth,” Cr Cooper said.  

“The project focuses on two key intersections along the stretch, with works to upgrade the Tilley Road intersection, as well as improvements to the layout and alignment of the Rickertt Road intersection. 

“The section of road between Rickertt Road and Manly Road will also be widened from one lane each way to a minimum of two lanes in each direction, and three lanes northbound through the Tilley Road intersection. 

“This will increase capacity for the corridor, which is already choked with traffic during peak periods, and cut travel times by around 50 percent in the morning and 35 percent in the afternoon.”

Chandler Ward Councillor Adrian Schrinner said the project would address serious safety concerns along the stretch, and was predicted to reduce crash risks through the area by more than half. 

“Fifty-seven crashes have occurred along the corridor over the past seven years, with 46 crashes requiring medical treatment or hospitalisation,” Cr Schrinner said. 

Doboy Ward Councillor Ryan Murphy said as well as ensuring residents get home quicker and safer, the project would also ensure a safer journey for native wildlife. 

“A range of environmental features have also been incorporated into the design including fauna exclusion fencing, dedicated underpasses, rope crossings and glider poles,” Cr Murphy said. 

“Green-coloured road pavement markings and signage will also be installed to alert motorists they are entering a wildlife awareness zone.”

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta said the project would mean a safer trip for those who commute along the corridor, including cyclists and pedestrians and would ease congestion, helping to get people home quicker.

“The community’s support for an upgrade to these roads has been overwhelming. I’m proud to have helped deliver this project for them,” Mr Vasta said. 

“I’m looking forward to working productively with each level of government to deliver more vital infrastructure projects like this one for our area.”

Federal Member for Bowman Andrew Laming said the collaboration between Brisbane City Council and the Australian Government would deliver huge benefits for residents. 

“This partnership between Canberra and Brisbane City Council is addressing a massive economic bottle neck for my residents as well,” Mr Laming said.   

“I’m delighted this high-quality project to expand Green Camp Road to four lanes is being delivered as promised to Brisbane City Council and Redland City residents.”

To facilitate the upgrade, a temporary closure of Tilley Road – adjacent to the Green Camp Road intersection – will be required for approximately three months. 

This closure will allow culvert installation and Tilley Road widening works to be completed within a shorter timeframe, reducing impacts to residents and businesses. 

Detour signage will be installed and the community will be given advanced warning to allow for alternative plans to be made. 

Construction is expected to commence in mid-2018 and be completed by mid-2019, weather and construction conditions permitting.

For more information on the Green Camp Road corridor upgrade visit or call Council on 3403 8888.

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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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