26 August 2020

The last five months have been very difficult for the Australian community. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about so much loss—the loss of jobs and livelihoods, and the loss of some freedoms that we love and look forward to regaining when this health crisis has been beaten. Most heartbreaking of all, of course, has been the loss of lives that the pandemic has caused. In the west we've not been immune to the effects of this virus, but with careful planning, assertive policies and strong leadership from the Premier, Mark McGowan, and the WA Labor government, Western Australia has been able to enjoy a relative sense of normality and security that has been elusive for other Australians. Vigilance is important, as well as maintaining our hard border. Physical distancing and hand hygiene must continue to be observed by all Western Australians so that we can keep this virus at bay and continue our lives as best as we can and as normally as we can. I've been lucky, because of the health of our state, to be able to get out into the community and speak to people directly. I welcomed home the women and men of HMAS Toowoomba, as they returned from their deployment to the Strait of Hormuz where they had been working on freedom-of-navigation exercises. I thank all those serving in the RAN for the work they do for our country and also for the active part that so many members of the Royal Australian Navy play in my local community.

I've been able to move about the electorate and hand-deliver pensioners and seniors kits around Baldivis, Waikiki, Warnbro, Safety Bay and Rockingham, and I've met with various community interest groups such as the wonderful Rockingham men's shed. I enjoyed an extensive tour of Paganoni Swamp with Leonie Stubbs, the enthusiastic and energetic coordinator of the Friends of Paganoni Swamp, a local community group that is doing a remarkable job in protecting the natural environment in Karnup. The walking trails of Paganoni Swamp have seen so many more families and groups taking walks, as people have sought local options during this COVID crisis.

I visited Comet Bay Primary School, Comet Bay College, Golden Bay Primary School, Safety Bay Senior High School, the Peter Carnley high school and primary school, Living Waters Lutheran College, St Bernadette's primary school, and Medina Primary School to present Australian and Indigenous flags and also copies of the national apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples. The offer to receive copies of the national apology has been taken up by so many in my community.

I am also very fortunate to have fantastic volunteers in my community. I recently caught up with some at the Mangles Bay Fishing Club in Point Peron. I look forward to spending a little bit of summer volunteering behind the bar at Mangles Bay. We celebrated the birthday of a fantastic community volunteer, Steph Fielding. Steph, along with her friends and my friends, Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin, Councillor Hayley Edwards and Caroline Hume, to name a few, are an enthusiastic, amazing and inspiring group of women. I wish them well in their efforts to support more women in public service.