National MP’s unfrog-getable SASI experience

State Nationals MP’s Martin Cameron and Melina Bath have had the honour of being painted as frogs by Statewide Autistic Services (SASI) Newborough.

Attending the Newborough facility recently, Martin and Melina were pleased to be presented with their frog artwork by SASI staff and clients.

Frogs are an important symbol to SASI’s clients as they resonate with the multiple phases of growth on their learning pathway.

The original SASI frog was named ‘George’ by a client and now multiple artworks adorns the driveway and gardens of its Haunted Hills Road facility in Newborough.

Mr Cameron and Ms Bath said they were delighted to have their likenesses captured as SASI frogs, knowing how much the green amphibians are synonymous to the respected autism support service.

“SASI clients connect with the frogs, and being involved was a great way to acknowledge and connect with Gippslanders with a disability,” said Ms Bath.

“Martin and I were both happy to participate and our visit to SASI was a rewarding experience.”

SASI’s Newborough facility is home to a wide array of artwork all created by renowned Gippsland artist Henry Young. Henry is a SASI Support Worker, and his artwork bonds clients to the facility.

Staying with the frog theme, Mr Cameron said he ‘leapt’ at the chance to become a frog model after visiting the organisation and gaining an understanding of the local disability support services.

“SASI has an important role supporting individuals with autism to access meaningful and encompassing social and learning experiences.

“After being presented with our frogs, Melina and I decided that they will make their way to Spring Street – our frogs will be a great way to start conversations about the disability sector and the importance of meaningful inclusion experiences.”

Following the visit, Mr Cameron and Ms Bath extended an invitation to SASI staff to attend State Parliament in recognition of their valued work and to discuss the organisations future expansion plans and workforce challenges.

Ms Bath said the disability industry is expanding rapidly and The Nationals are keen to advocate for solutions to alleviate workforce shortages.

“SASI offers many employment opportunities for anyone seeking a rewarding and stable career in the disability sector – it’s important to understand the issues and promote careers in the sector.”