Newsletter 6 June: Eden-Monaro By-Election, Coronavirus Update and HomeBuilder Annoucement

Jun 9, 2020

The pace of life in Australia, in NSW and in Eden-Monaro is picking up. The nation, at various rates in various places, is coming back to life, for which we are all grateful. Australia is coming out of COVID restrictions faster than most, and this is illustrated by the opening up of the NRL competition, and soon the AFL and other codes. But writing this on 2 June, I can see in my area how much has changed, even just to the extent of traffic on the roads and the number of customers in shopping centres. The freezing weather down here at the edge of the Monaro reminds us that the snow season is not far away and I hope that the ski fields can open up successfully in time to make the best of the season. Fire and COVID have devastated our areas, and let’s hope we get the tourist traffic back to all parts of my local area, Eden-Monaro.

I am recovering from my hip operations slowly but surely. There is an awful lot that I can do from my home office, given that I have only limited mobility and cannot drive myself for another three weeks. The world out there is still careering along in a rather frightening manner. China continues to throw its weight around and has taken Australia on about trade, calling us a “giant kangaroo that serves as a dog for the US”. China has walked over the rights of Hong Kong and drawn a reaction from the US on this. China is challenging the UK over its decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network, is in conflict with the US on trade and theft of industrial technology and intellectual property, is clashing with Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia in the South China Sea, with Canada over the detention of Huawei officials, with India over Kashmir, with Norway over the Nobel Prize being given to a Chinese dissident, and is denying freedom to and threating Taiwan, while at the same time, President Xi tells his armed forces to prepare for the “worst case scenario” and to get battle ready to “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty”. Plus, of course, Victoria continues to progress towards becoming part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Sadly our great and powerful ally, the US is racked with the social violence which we see every night on the media, which limits its ability to exercise the moral authority that we know it should have. It will recover though, of that I am certain. This is not the worst social violence yet in recent US race history, and the US can still be a force for good in the world.

I have addressed all of these key issues in the form of opinion pieces, some of which have yet to be published, and in various electronic media appearances over the last two weeks. I have been on the “Gleeso Show” (Peter Gleeson Sky), Paul Murray Live (PML) twice on Sunday evenings (Sky), Drive Time (Mark Levy 2GB), and ABC South East. In the next few days, I will be on the Chris Smith Show (Sky), Ben Fordham’s new Breakfast Show (2GB), Queanbeyan Community Radio and PML again. We must get our voice out there at every opportunity.

Fiona Kotvojs, the Liberal Party candidate for Eden-Monaro is out working the electorate. There are a few words about her campaign below. We also have our Local Hero again, and our Business Shoutout, showing the adaptability of our society, and the goodness of our local people.


This is going to be a tough campaign, no government has won a seat from the opposition at a by-election for 100 years.  The people of Eden-Monaro have an important decision, as to who can get the job done as we rebuild from bushfire, floods, the ongoing drought and COVID-19.

I know that Fiona has the experience to be a strong voice in government,  that will help to rebuild the many great communities in Eden-Monaro. As a small business owner, volunteer firefighter, former army reservist, former high school teacher and lifeline councillor, Fiona has the experience to fight for her community.

This campaign will be very different to others due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we’ll need your help to talk with as many locals as possible over the next few weeks.  If you have any time to spare, even if it’s just half an hour, please volunteer here  to lend a hand.

COVID-19 Update

Happy Hour is back on in NSW! As of Monday 1 June, in NSW, up to 50 people can dine-in at pubs, cafes, bistros and restaurants, space permitting. I would encourage every single person to get out there and support your local businesses who have been doing it tough through this period.

With restrictions rapidly easing we must remember that we all have a part to play in slowing the spread of Coronavirus, saving lives and protecting our health workers.  In order to do so we must remember to”stay COVID free, do the three.”

1.Wash your hands
2. Keep your distance
3. Download the COVIDSafe App

Local Hero – 1st Bungendore Scout Group

This week my Local Hero shoutout goes to one of our most obvious ‘heroic’ community organisations – our fabulous Scouts. The 1st Bungendore Scout Group is a very active group with around 100 members, covering the Joey (5-8 year olds), Cubs (8-11), Scouts (11-14) and Venturer (15-18) sections. It also has at its helm a hardworking and very committed team of twelve Leaders, and a committee of eleven.

Whilst COVID 19 restrictions changed the method of contact to digital for all sections, we have proof that the Bungendore scouts, like participants Australia wide, were reasonably well equipped to cope with the controls – in 2019, Scouts Australia partnered with Resilient Youth Australia to explore the impact of Scouting on young Australians. The results of the ‘Resilience Survey’ have recently been released and found that young people active in Scouts reported higher levels of resilience, self-confidence, leadership, perseverance, good communication, and overall better life satisfaction than their peers. These superb findings are no surprise to the many Australians who are familiar with the ideals, service and benefits of the Scouting movement.

Our Bungendore Group was first established in 1933, and over the past almost ninety years the Leaders have passionately maintained the aim of Scouting which is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people so that they take a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities.

Every year, the Group hosts the ANZAC Day Gunfire Breakfast, marches in the ANZAC Day Parade, raises funds for the ANZAC Day Memorial Committee, conducts ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ activities in Bungendore and Queanbeyan, and helps with other community events including the Country Muster and Bungendore Show.

A return to a more normal life will present the group with a double reason for celebrating – for the past thirteen years the Group has been fundraising, consulting and finalising plans to construct a purpose-built facility for scouting, community and recreational purposes. The project finally started in May 2018 and has just finished, and the start of Term 3 (depending on COVID restrictions) will see the Group move into their new hall. An official opening of the facility will be held in Spring. Cub Scout Leader and Chair of the New Hall Committee, Deb Simms, tells me it will be an immensely valuable and versatile facility for young people and the broader community, as a venue not only for Scouting activities, but also for varied purposes including exhibitions, before and after and vacation school care, and an evacuation or communication command centre in times of natural disasters or emergencies.

So I’m delighted to say both congratulations, and thank you, to my local heroes this week, the 1st Bungendore Scout Group. I am privileged to be an honorary Joey Scout of the 1st Bungendore Group, and I look forward to a repeat visit to their magnificent new hall.


Business Shoutout – Supetto Collective

My business shoutout this week is to Supetto Collective, Jerrabomberra. ‘Suppeto’, owner Anthony Nicolleti tells us, is Latin for ‘available’, or ‘at hand’ – well the popular Jerrabomberra cafe and hub is certainly true to its name, with their superb coffee and cuisine service extending, even in these challenging COVID-19 times, from 6am on weekday mornings through til 8pm most nights.

Suppeto could also mean ‘adaptive’, as Anthony and his 19 staff, mostly Queanbeyan and Jerra locals, responded quickly to the onset of the Coronavirus and the significant restrictions initially imposed on all restaurants and cafes. With the protection and support of his staff and valued customers the priority, the team immediately updated the user friendly app the cafe had developed to comply with government guidelines allowing takeaway business only. The prompt modification of the app ensured that a completely contactless order and collection service was on offer, though processes were also introduced to ensure that customers who wished could also call in to order and collect safely.

Within a week both food and beverage menus were changed to best reflect the challenging situation, and to provide a more effective service for customers. One thing that didn’t change was the team’s commitment to convenient and helpful opening hours, so that as we all navigated the drastic changes to our lives, there was at least a fabulous early morning coffee and breakfast, as well as a late evening ‘comfort food’ dinner, available from Suppeto when we needed or desired it!

Deliveries are planned to expand to include Queanbeyan as well as Jerra, keeping the team of five family member drivers busy and happy, transporting the fabulous winter menu options to “the best customers in the world”.

Suppeto Collective was established in July 2017 at 3/37 Jerrabomberra Parkway, and when it reopens for dine-in patrons in August they will find extensive renovations, including a cocktail bar, new seating, timber flooring, and painting, and bifold doors opening to an inviting outdoor dining area. Anthony and his team acknowledge and value greatly the commitment of the community to support local businesses, and keep in constant touch with their customers and community through a very active Facebook page.

So if you wake at six to a panorama of frost on these sub-zero Southern Tablelands mornings, and crave a coffee, or can think of nothing better than a magnificent and wholesome lamb shank at the end of a brisk and busy day, I’m delighted to confirm that Suppeto will be there for you.

Thank you Anthony and the Suppeto Collective team, a fabulous local businesses, adapting to our changing world.

The new HomeBuilder program is supporting jobs in the residential construction sector. Launched this week, the HomeBuilder program will provide eligible owner occupiers (not just first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.

The program will help to fill the gap in construction activity in the second half of this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Further details, including eligibility criteria, can be found at

HomeBuilder Annoucement

The new HomeBuilder program is supporting jobs in the residential construction sector. Launched this week, the HomeBuilder program will provide eligible owner occupiers (not just first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.

The program will help to fill the gap in construction activity in the second half of this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Further details, including eligibility criteria, can be found at

Article of Interest

An article I have written to express the importance of developing a strategy to provide a framework to address future challenges or threats for Australia:

My sincere thanks again for all your support.

Kind regards,

Senator Jim Molan AO DSC