Emergency relief funding for five local community organisations in Cunningham

The Commonwealth Government will provide on-going funding over the next three years for five local community organisations providing emergency relief services to vulnerable families and individuals, Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said today. “The local community organisations will share in just over $2 million of funding. “Emergency relief services funding helps vulnerable families and individuals with assistance to meet food, clothing, pharmacy, transport, accommodation and utilities bills. “The Commonwealth Government recognises that cost of living pressures do impact on vulnerable families and individuals and the on-going funding support to local community organisations will provide some assistance to meet emergency situations”, Ms Bird said. Local Community Organisation Funding Amount Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation $95,183 Community Health for Adolescents in Need $75,961 Anglicare - Wollongong $1.09 million Salvation Army Illawarra $601,619 Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre Inc $150,441

Illawarra set to benefit from digital economy push

Federal Labor MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, have today welcomed the release of the Commonwealth Government’s National Digital Economy Strategy, indicating that the Illawarra would benefit from the early roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN). “This region has been at the forefront of the NBN roll-out starting at Kiama and Minnamurra and is set to reap the benefits of high-speed broadband for health, education and telecommuting. “I encourage the region’s business, health, education and civic community to work with RDA Illawarra and its Broadband Sub-Committee to develop a region-wide digital economy strategy so we are ready to take full advantage of the NBN”, Sharon Bird said. Stephen Jones said, “The opportunities ahead of the region by building on its knowledge and experience in the digital economy will mean increased business and jobs growth. “The digital economy will change the way we do business, visit the doctor, learn at school and university, and work from home”. Ms Bird, who is the Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications, and Mr Jones, who is also a member of the Committee, are about to wrap up a public inquiry into the role and potential of the NBN. Ms Bird and Mr Jones, with the support of Regional Development Australia Illawarra, were instrumental in ensuring that Kiama and Minnamurra were among the first mainland test sites for the roll-out of the NBN.

Final hurdle cleared in getting to the World Transplant Games

Media Alert Sponsorship Presentation 11:30am Government Caucus Room (RG 80) Australia’s youngest adult transplant games competitor nineteen year old Wollongong resident Jessica Sparks will be able to take part in the World Transplant Games in Sweden in June with the support of pharmaceutical company Abbott Australasia. Miss Sparks suffers from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder which affects most systems of the body, particularly the respiratory system. At age 12, Jessica’s condition deteriorated and by age 16 she was diagnosed with end-stage lung disease and put on oxygen and bi-pap breathing devices. Her deteriorating condition meant that she could not walk, talk or breathe without assistance and her physical restrictions led to frustration for a girl who enjoyed participating in sports. In 2009, Jessica received a double lung transplant at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Since then, she has graduated from high school, completed a college course with High Distinctions and is currently studying law and French at the University of Wollongong. A passionate advocate for organ donation, in 2010 Jessica participated in the Australian Transplant Games winning 16 medals in sports including badminton, volleyball and athletics. Continue reading

Corrimal based partnership gives financial second chance to local people

Australia’s only specialist banking service for not-for-profit organisations has joined forces with a local not-for-profit employment and training provider to help the region’s most vulnerable people get financial loans and advice to get their lives back on track. Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said today that the Commonwealth Government has provided $2.3 million in funding support to Community Sector Banking (CSB), which is partnering with Access Community Group, to deliver a Financial Management Program in the Illawarra. “I am really delighted that two of Corrimal’s quiet achieving not-for-profit organisations are joining forces to help ensure that financially vulnerable and disadvantaged people can take advantage of a hand up to get their lives back on track. “The Financial Management Program aims to improve the financial knowledge and resilience of vulnerable people and families living in our local community. “CSB is a national organisation with its head office based in Corrimal since 2002, and Access Community Group has been based locally since 1986”, Ms Bird said. Continue reading

$125,000 funding for Blue Mile CCTV

The Commonwealth Government will provide $125,000 in funding to establish comprehensive CCTV coverage along Wollongong’s Blue Mile, Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, announced this morning. The funding is made available under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as part of the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to reducing crime. “The $125,000 in funding will provide for comprehensive CCTV coverage and monitoring to be established along the entire Blue Mile, linking it to the existing Wollongong City Centre Street CCTV system. “As the Commonwealth Government and Wollongong City Council have worked together in a fantastic partnership to upgrade community infrastructure along the Blue Mile, we are working together again to ensure that local residents and tourists are able to enjoy this new, modern infrastructure in a safe and secure environment. “The Blue Mile precinct is growing into the central celebration point for Wollongong for major events like Australia Day and New Year’s Eve”, she said. Continue reading

Making every school a great school

The Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett and the Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird visited Mount Ousley Primary School and St Brigid’s Primary School today, to talk with teachers and students about the Gillard Government’s investment in our schools. “We want to make every school a great school so that they can continue to offer kids a quality education that helps them achieve their full potential,” Mr Garrett said. The Budget includes a number of initiatives to support our schools: More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative; increased funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program and the National Rewards for Great Teachers initiative. “These initiatives are aimed at ensuring all children, regardless of where they live, have access to the support they need to get a quality education.” “I am really pleased that the Minister has been able to visit both Mt Ousley Public School and St Brigid’s Primary School to see first hand the quality education programs offered by these two local schools and the dedication of all the local school professionals”, Ms Bird said. Continue reading

Minister for School Education to visit Wollongong Schools

MEDIA ALERT FRIDAY, 13 MAY 2011 The Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett MP, is visiting Mt Ousley Public School and St Brigid’s Primary School at Gwynneville this morning. The Minister will visit Mt Ousley Public School’s Year 6 classes and discuss the 1 to 1 Laptop program, tour the new school hall, COLA and covered walkway funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Building the Education Revolution program. The Minister is also visiting St Brigid’s Primary School to meet with local school staff and participate in a school assembly and answer student’s questions on leadership. St Brigid’s runs a school leadership program called ilead. Media Opportunity 9.30am Mt Ousley Public School McGrath Street MT Ousley (Doorstop scheduled for 10.15 am)

Volunteer Grants Program open for applications

The Commonwealth Government’s Volunteer Grants 2011 program is now open for applications, Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, announced today. “Volunteer organisations in our local community do so much tremendous work. “The Commonwealth wants to acknowledge the role that local volunteers and their organisations do with the community by providing funding grants of between $1000 and $5000 to help with the purchase of essential equipment, help with fuel costs, cover training courses and necessary background checks. “Last year, 44 local community groups stretching from Heathcote to Unanderra shared in $163,000 under the Volunteer Grants 2010 program. “There are many people who give of their time to help tackle poverty, disadvantage and hardship. “Others participate in ensuring local sports, surf clubs and local schools operate effectively. “All volunteers play a crucial part in ensuring community participation. “I encourage all local volunteer organisations to consider applying for these funding grants”, Ms Bird said. Applications close at 5pm on 8 June 2011. To apply visit www.fahcsia.gov.au or call 1800 183 374.

NBN inquiry goes West

The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Committee will conduct public hearings in Perth on Thursday 5 May and Friday 6 May. Committee Chair Sharon Bird said today that “the Committee is looking forward to hearing from West Australians about how the NBN can contribute to, among many other things, enhanced research outcomes and overcoming the tyranny of distance.” “On Friday we will be conducting a roundtable discussion with four local government and regional organisations, which, in combination, represent 19 West Australian council areas” she added. “As has been evident in the inquiry to date, the NBN will transform the economy and society and will foster innovation in ways that cannot yet be envisaged.” Continue reading

Government invest $6.1 million in search for weeds solution

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Mike Kelly, has today approved funding for a weeds research project being lead by Professor Kris French of the University of Wollongong. The Gillard Government has approved $262 938 in funding for the project which aims to fill knowledge gaps by undertaking a survey across the distribution of Madeira vine and cat’s claw creeper to identify levels of infestation and damage. The project is part of a $6.1 million investment that will fund 33 new research projects bringing innovative approaches to tackling some of Australia’s most invasive pest plants. Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird MP, welcomed the announcement of funding for the University’s project. “Exotic woody vines are common along edges of fragmented habitats and some species are particularly destructive and becoming increasingly common,” Ms Bird said. “This project will help to overcome the lack of knowledge of the degree and type of damage these vines cause and lead to the development of appropriate management strategies.” Continue reading