Sonya Matheson for Mining and Pastoral
Sonya Matheson spent her early years in Perth until moving to the East Pilbara town of Newman with her husband, who was born and raised in Port Hedland, and their two young children who attend school in Newman. Newman is now home for her young family. Sonya has been a community volunteer, as writer for the local paper, The Newman News. As a parent of junior primary-aged children, Sonya is aware of the issues confronting teachers in the region; the inequity of education for indigenous students, violence in schools involving staff and students, the high cost of rent, lack of maintenance and poor housing conditions in teacher rented homes, and the difficulty with attraction and retention of quality school staff.
Why Mining and Pastoral?
Sonya is very concerned by the impact of extreme violence in communities throughout the region. She believes the future of a generation of children is under threat from extreme circumstances, with youth suicide, crime, drug and alcohol-fuelled abuse destroying families and the lives of young people. She is distressed at funding cuts which have put an end to successful programmes and strategies assisting families in crisis and children at risk. The success, safety and future of children are at stake.
Small businesses in the region, already crippled by excessive freight and airfare costs, are being disadvantaged by large corporations using the “cheapest tender” process, rather than supporting local businesses. Sonya believes a reduction of FIFO numbers and a focus on building town resident workforces would benefit communities in the region by supporting local businesses, schools and hospitals. Hospitals, schools, community centres and roads should be rejuvenated by Royalties for Regions funding as town populations increase. Improved health care services (including mental health) and equipment in regional and remote areas are needed as a matter of urgency. Job security and availability in the region rely on resident population growth.
This election Sonya is campaigning for
“funding and extending social services, strategies, programmes and initiatives which eradicate violence on the streets and in homes, and which assist in dealing with the crisis of drug and alcohol abuse, violence and family destruction.”
” strong communication and relationships between indigenous Elders, community support services and Police, to support community programmes and manage alcohol use through the TAMS (Take Away Alcohol Management System).”
“Strengthen and extend services and support for children, to get them off the street, out of crime, and into safe places, ensuring that police are valued, supported and respected (including access to Workers’ Compensation when injured in the course of their duties) and that best practice education, support services and rehabilitation clinics are available in regional communities to reduce the negative impact of drugs and alcohol.”