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Gambling and the use of pokies machines is a growing area of expenditure for locals in Calwell, with over $300,000 spent on pokies per day in the Hume area.  The serious effects of gambling not only impact the finances of an individual, but are also seen through the loss of physical and mental health, relationships, work performance and self-esteem.

The consequences of gambling affect the individual and those around them, yet this is still an issue that is hidden and not often spoken about in the community.

I’ve always thought of Banksia Gardens as a fixture in Broadmeadows, one of the pulse points of the local community. The team at Banksia Gardens know what’s going on in Broady – who is missing out, who needs a hand, and what the issues are that are of concern to all the different communities that make up this vibrant neighbourhood. Now I know how old you are, I guess this is no surprise.

 Above: At the Banskia Gardens Community Services morning tea.

A big congratulations to Niketa Loftus for her well deserved accolade as a Westfield Local Hero. Niketa works incredibly hard in the Calwell community making sure our girls from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and socio-economically disadvantaged families get a change to play netball. 

I'm so proud of the work that Niketa does in creating an inclusive and safe Calwell community and making sure our girls get an opportunity to play sport and be healthy. 

Above: Niketa Loftus with Maria Vamvakinou MP.

Expressions of interest are open now for the fifth round of grants in the Stronger Communities Program. If you have a project that will increase community participation and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of Calwell, a Stronger Communities grant could help make it a reality. Grants of between $2,500 and $20,000 are available for small capital works projects that meet the goals of the program and can show matched contributions (in cash or in kind) on at least a dollar for dollar basis. 

 

Above: With Maureen Leahy from Meadows Primary School in the playground they built from the funds they received in round four of the Stronger Communities Programme.

My question to the Prime Minister in Question Time today - can the Prime Minister confirm how many pensioners will be negatively impacted by his legislation to cut the pension supplement?

The 2019 Communities Environment Program is now open to expressions of interest (EOI) from local environment groups across the federal Calwell electorate.

If your group is in need of funds to make an important environmental project happen, delivering social benefits to the wider community, I encourage you to submit a proposal to my office.

It was my absolute privilege to host the inaugural 'Memories of Menzies and Calwell' event alongside my parliamentary colleagues John Alexander MP and Dr Mike Freelander MP in Parliament. 

Firstly, a very special thank you to Heather Henderson (nee Menzies) and Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell for sharing the wonderful memories of their fathers from very personal perspectives in a fascinating discussion moderated by Michelle Grattan, The Conversation.

In celebration of the arts community in Australia, I took the opportunity to talk about the art in my Parliamentary office by Greek Australian artist Vicki Varvaressos.