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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.

How fortunate was I to be in Canberra at Parliament at the same time my home team Hume City FC played and beat Cooma Tigers 2-0 in round 32 of the FFA Cup. I got a chance to celebrate with the winning team at Deakin Stadium who are now in round 16 of the prestigious cup. 

 

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.

It was such an honour to officially launch the Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy Inc at the Royal Children's Hospital on Wednesday 19 June, 2019. The auditorium was filled with healthcare professionals, carers, patients, and families all there to advocate on behalf of those affected by sickle cell disease in Melbourne

I want to thank the group’s executive director and founder Agnes Nsofwa for all her hard work in raising awareness on sickle cell disease (SCD) in Australia. Agnes and her husband Preston have given up their time and energy to advocate on issues affecting sufferers of SCD after their beautiful daughter Mapalo Joy was diagnosed when she was a baby.

Above: With Mapalo Joy Nsofwa. 

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 such an honour to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Australian Assyrian Community Centre on Sunday 9 June, 2019.  The multipurpose facility will address the needs of advancing the Assyrian language, culture and tradition here in Calwell.

The Australian Assyrian Community Centre is a Diocesan project to address the needs of the booming Middle East refugee community in Hume City and the wider northern region. It will provide an accessible, low-cost community facility for new and emerging communities with a particular focus on refugees, youth, seniors and women. It will also be the new and permanent home for the existing St George Assyrian Language School. The Diocese is proudly partnering with the Victorian Government to deliver the project with part-funding under the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund.

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.

I am humbled to be re-elected as your representative in the Federal Parliament.

I will continue to fight for a fair go; I will advocate for our needs and services; and I will continue to work everyday to serve our communities. I look forward to sharing our local Calwell stories and achievements in the Federal Parliament for the next three years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the 46th Parliament of Australia.

- Maria