Federal Member Rebekha Sharkie conducts duties on KI | PHOTOS

Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie had a busy couple of days on Kangaroo Island conducting official duties last week.

She joined a Civics class at Kangaroo Island Community Education Kingscote campus, presented a new Australian flag to the Hope Cottage Museum and officially launched KI author Jill Gloyne's new book.

Ms Sharkie also held community forums at Penneshaw, American River and Kingscote, attended by more than 50 local residents.

The KI forums were among 21 events being held by Ms Sharkie across the electorate during March and follow on from the first round of forums she held across the region in 2017.

Feedback from the 2017 forums and the more than 5000 community surveys returned by residents across the electorate resulted in the production of Ms Sharkie's Community Forum and First Year Report.

"That document really was a blueprint for focussing my work in Federal Parliament in the past three years but now we need to look to the future," she said.

"I promised back in 2017 that I would report back so this latest round of forums has been a touch point regarding our work in the last two years and an opportunity to refine our priorities if I am fortunate to be re-elected.

"It is also chance to connect with new residents of Mayo due to the Australian Electoral Commission redistribution in South Australia.

"Sadly, because of population decline, our state has dropped from 11 seats to 10 and Mayo will be a much larger electorate at the 2019 election with 14,000 new voters from the suburbs of Sellicks, Aldinga, Craigburn Farm and Hawthorndene.

"To date I have completed 15 of the 21 forums and across all communities concerns about access to health services and the need to protect our beautiful environment and to take action on climate remain key issues.

"The cost of the water gap on all goods and services remains a big issue for the Island.

"Another key topic of debate at all three Island forums was access to medical services for people living outside of Kingscote, particularly community nursing services for older residents.

"Opposition to oil drilling in the Bight continued to come through strongly and there were a number of local environmental issues raised.

"Once all the forums have been completed we will be collating summaries and producing a second report to direct my work into the future."

She said environmental issues relating to oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight and also proposed accommodation development in Flinders Chase National Park were consistently raised during the forums.

Regarding oil exploration, she was still proposing a new bill giving the Bight national heritage status.

She had also been taking advice from Senator Rex Patrick, a former submariner, about the dangers to the environment posed by seismic testing proposed for 90km west of KI by the PGS company.

She also visited Hope Cottage Museum, where she met with museum volunteers Judy Nagoreka, Lesley Walker and Kym Scholz. She handed over a few flag and was taken on a tour of the museum.

At the KICE Kingscote campus, she led a Civics class with teacher Emma Bell. 

"I love visiting our schools in Mayo and I take great pride in taking part in lessons on politics because civic education is so important for our young people," Ms Sharkie said.

"Thanks to KICE I introduced a motion to the parliament calling for a national plastic bag ban. There has been a shift in community attitude towards banning single-use plastics and this has been driven by our young people.

"Young people are our future and they need to know how our government, how Australian system of democracy works so they can be engaged in the process. It's why I visited the Speaker Tony Smith to visit the Island in 2017 and why we co-hosted a fundraiser for KICE's first visit to Canberra.

"It's also why I advocated for the increase to the PACER rebate so Island students could be compensated for the cost of the water gap. I was delighted when the Government announced its increase from $60, the same as every other SA student, to $180.

"This has made such a difference to the affordability of the civics education trip to Canberra. KICE has now had two trips and it has been a privilege to meet the students at Parliament House."

Federal election

The Islander has been told the Federal election will likely be in May and the good news is that Ms Sharkie successfully lobbied for a pre-polling station on KI.

The Liberal Party candidate for Mayo will again be Georgina Downer, who is hosting a lunch at The Shed at American River on Sunday, April 7 with SA Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman. 

The Labor Party on Monday announced it's candidate is conservation activist Saskia Gerhardy, who who runs the EnviroKids program in Willunga.

She visited KI in December with State Member for Mawson Leon Bignell, touring the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.

The Greens candidate meanwhile is Anne Bourke, a resident of Goolwa who visited KI in January for the American River Gala Day.