Leanne Atkinson, the NSW Labor Candidate for Bega, recently visited Batemans Bay meeting with groups and individuals to listen to their concerns during her rounds of "Kitchen Table Conversations".
Leanne also met with Friends of Durras and Nature Coast Alliance to see the high conservation forest, wetlands and endangered species that will be threatened by Eurobodalla Shire Council’s (ESC) proposed Rural Lands Strategy (RLS). Leanne also arranged meetings to better understand the concerns held by 350 Eurobodalla and local oyster growers around the Eurobodalla Council's Rural Land Strategy Proposal specifically around the issue of grazing on wetlands. Batemans Bay Aboriginal Elders spent time with Leanne to discuss ways of helping their community.
She heard about the vital service Hope House in Batemans Bay is providing to men who experience mental health issues, substance abuse, estrangement from family/friends and homelessness, that Hope House struggles with insecure funding. Hope House is the only homelessness service in Batemans Bay for men, with no properly funded service for women and children escaping domestic violence.
Mackay Park Aquatic/Arts Centre was also on the agenda for conversations. Pool stakeholders described their experience with ESC’s consultation process and suggested there was a lack of transparency during the planning process, and that a 25m pool would exclude people and would be a backward step and was not supported by the community.
Leanne’s first Rotary Markets saw her speaking with locals about State and Federal issues. The impacts of fishing reforms, transport disadvantage and housing were among the issues raised at a State level. Leanne assured the community that she is listening, passing on community concerns to the relevant Shadow Ministers and encouraged people to contact her.