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Huge start to 2024

Well, we are already off to a huge start for 2024! I have just wrapped up the first sitting fortnight - back in Canberra standing up for our community.

As your Independent Federal Member, my team and I have got lots of exciting things underway, and I want to give you a sneak peek!

First up, we’ll be holding a youth-led climate action paddle out at Mona Vale beach to showcase our opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling and to build momentum for Senator David Pocock’s Duty of Care Bill. This Bill will require the Government to consider the interests of future generations when making important policy decisions.

On March 14, I will be hosting a scam awareness session presented by the ACCC to alert the community of the very real dangers of these sophisticated organised crimes. See here for more details on these upcoming events.

In June I will also be hosting a People’s Jury on housing – bringing together experts and Mackellar locals to discuss new, common-sense solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

Canberra Matters

Tax Cuts for those who need it!

The past two sitting weeks was all tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. I listened to what you told me in the survey and voted for a fairer distribution of the stage 3 tax cuts, as proposed by the Government.

Mackellar overwhelmingly supported the changes to the stage 3 tax cuts, often despite not benefiting from them personally. Independent polling showed that 63 per cent of those surveyed in Mackellar supported the Government's redesign.

The results from my electorate survey found 47 per cent of respondents who live in Mackellar considered that they would be better off under the original design of the stage 3 tax cuts; however, 76 per cent thought that the redesign was necessary in light of the current cost-of-living crisis, and only 7 per cent of respondents to this survey thought that the Government should have honoured its promise regardless of the economic circumstances.

For more on the matter, view my speech here.


Standing up for our community on cost of living:

Cost of living pressures are hitting us all and I am fighting hard on this issue in Canberra. This week I called the Government to not only look at the concerning behaviour of supermarkets but also our energy providers, airlines and banks. Much more needs to be done on this issue. See more here.

Extended Paid Parental Leave:

In good news the House of Reps passed a Bill to increase paid parental leave from 20 to 26 weeks. The legislation will now progress to the Senate for further consideration. As well as more leave overall, the Bill gives parents more overlapping time at home together with their new-born (up to four weeks). By 2026, a total of 4 weeks will be reserved for each parent on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. These amendments are a further step towards workplace and gender equality as they will encourage greater sharing of care responsibilities. Click here to view my speech on the changes.

Standing up against the humanitarian crisis in Gaza:

As the military action and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza continues to unfold before the eyes of the world, I again spoke on the matter in Parliament and called for the release of hostages, an immediate ceasefire and sufficient humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza. I also urged our Government to call again for Israel to act in accordance with the interim judgement of the International Court of Justice and ensure all acts of genocide are avoided. View my speech here.

Northern Beaches community desperate for youth mental health services:

The lack of adolescent mental health services on Sydney's Northern Beaches is a serious problem for our community. The Northern Beaches Hospital, as a public-private partnership facility, cannot be directed by the State Government to provide the adolescent mental health beds that were funded more than 2 years ago. I have been working with the NSW mental health minister Rose Jackson to resolve this impasse so that the funds may be redirected to improving community based adolescent mental health services here on the Beaches. I am hopeful for a resolution soon. View speech here.

Holding the Government to account:

As an Independent MP a large part of my role is holding the Government to account. Ending the ‘jobs for mates’ culture in Canberra is a particular focus of mine so that we build political institutions we can trust. That’s why in Question Time I asked the Attorney General why he’s not legislating an independent appointments process for the new Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) so that it can’t be politicised like its predecessor. The new Review Tribunal will be one of the most important bodies underpinning our democracy so I will continue to negotiate with the Attorney General on strengthening the appointments process proposed in the Bill. View my speech here.

Call for a carbon levy:

Eminent economists, Prof Ross Garnaut and Dr Rod Sims addressed the National Press Club last week to announce their proposal to reintroduce a carbon levy as the most powerful way to reduce carbon emissions and supercharge Australia’s industry and prosperity into the future. I asked the Treasurer for his views on a new carbon levy. See here.

Mackellar Matters

PEP-11 faces big hurdle:

Recently there was an exciting step towards shutting down PEP11. The NSW Government announced a new law whereby oil and gas mining projects cannot be built in state waters. The infrastructure to support it, such as pipelines and terminals, will also be banned.

However, as the proposed drilling area lies in commonwealth waters (further than 3km from the coast), the Federal Industry Minister will also need to decide if the drilling can proceed. In the meantime, the decision by the State Government is a positive step and I will continue to advocate on your behalf. I have met with both the federal and state environment ministers and spoken in Parliament on multiple occasions expressing the strong opposition of the people of the Northern Beaches for PEP11 and will continue to do so. Read more here.

Barrenjoey Headland cottages saved from Airbnb: 

Heritage preserved!

The NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, Penny Sharpe decided to rule out the use of the heritage buildings at Barrenjoey Headland for visitor accommodation.

I wrote to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, last October about the proposal and sought assurances from the federal minister that the proposal would be referred to her for assessment under the federal environment laws because of the headland’s iconic status. 

Minister Plibersek confirmed that she had asked her department to work closely with the relevant NSW officials to ensure that the requirements of the EPBC Act are understood in any proposed re-purposing of Barrenjoey Lighthouse and headland. This appears to have caused a change of heart by the NSW State Government. 

It is very pleasing to see that this advocacy has been successful, and that Minister Sharpe has made the decision not to approve the use of the lighthouse cottages as accommodation.


Out and about:

Summer is a wonderful time in our community. Over the break and in between trips to Canberra, I have loved celebrating and attending local community events. From the Northern Beaches Special Olympics awards ceremony, several ocean swims, the AOK community food donation services, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Serbian Orthodox Parish, the Bush to Beach program which brings Indigenous kids from Brewarrina to Narrabeen, celebrating 25 years of Street Mission providing meals for homeless people in Dee Why, the Tibetan New Year, and of course the Australia Day awards and citizenship ceremonies. 

Celebrating Easylink - community grant win:

It was lovely to celebrate the community grant Easylink received through my office and all the work they do for our community providing affordable and accessible transport for Northern Beaches residents. Catching up with the Easylink clients over afternoon tea, it was clear that these Mackellar residents certainly enjoy their outings and the service and hospitality Easylink provides. Click here for a short video with Easylink.

Sign up to my Mackellar Grant Finder if you are a community organisation seeking a grant. 

Constituent Wins

Our constituent liaison team in the office have been smashing it out of the park!

This year (since Jan 2024) we have responded to over 1750 emails from constituents and resolved 276 cases.

Some key highlights over the past 6 weeks have been helping a constituent finally receive their pension after waiting since August last year! And another constituent who has been waiting for their Jobseeker payment which our team was able to resolve in just two days.

"I am so grateful for all your support, time and care when things became very difficult. Your devoted attention and kindness to listen to our needs was paramount in this decision. I am so very grateful to you for everything.” - Mackellar constituent 

We are here to advocate on your behalf. If you or a neighbour, friend or family member has a concern, please do not hesitate to contact the office. All constituents will receive a response from our highly qualified team.


Swim for mental health - March 2-3, 9am:

Head Above Water is back in 2024. Help raise funds for mental health and suicide prevention programs in our community. Sign up to the Sophie Head Above Water team here.

Sophie at Bookoccino - March 3, 4.30pm:

Sophie will be in conversation with David McBride to discuss his new book 'Whistleblower - The Nature of Honour' at Bookoccino - come along and say hello! More details here.

International Women's Day Livestream:

Save the date for an online fireside chat with journalist Angela Priestley from Women's Agenda on Thursday March 7. More details to come via social media – we will keep you posted!

Local acappella group seeking singers: 

Northern Beaches Chorus is a local community choir here on the Northern Beaches. They are looking for women to join. All ages welcome. For more information, call Carol on 0477 211 609. 

A fresh new look for 2024:

We have a new look. Check out the new website here. We hope this is easier to find your way around and see how Sophie is representing you.

Sophie is also now on TikTok – @SophieScampsMP. Tell your kids and grandkids to give Sophie a follow! This is the best way to engage and inspire this passionate next generation.

Grants and Submissions

Have your say on our Aged Care Act here until March 8:

Click here for more info.

Small business grant:

Small and medium businesses can apply for an Energy Efficiency Grant. The grants are valued between $10,000 and 25,000. Applications open February 22, 2024 – apply here.

Parliment House National Showcase:

Do you know any local Mackellar businesses who would like their products to be showcased in the Parliament House gift shop. Apply here.

Live music grant opportunity:

Click here for more info.

Westfield Local Heroes 2024 nominations are now open:

Apply here before March 18.

Sophie in the media 

The Financial Review - December 22

The teals play the long game with integrity

Tawny Frogmouth - January 4

Sophie’s campaign to stop junk food marketing to kids heats up

The Australian- January 17

Teal MPs will take a 75 per cent by 2035 emissions reduction target to the next election

Manly Observer - February 8

Easy does it – grant awarded to community transport charity

The Today Show - February 9

Right to switch off

The Canberra Times - February 12

The change that could fix the problems and politics of appointments

The Financial Review - February 15

Teals, Greens taunt Labor on carbon tax proposal

The Financial Review - February 16

Chaney, McManus, Pocock back $30m push for ethics institute