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Jamie Oliver Backs My #HealthyKids Bill

Meeting with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to discuss my Healthy Kids Private Members Bill was a highlight this month. Jamie has championed the cause of improving children’s food habits and protecting them from harmful junk food advertising for decades in the UK. His #AdEnough campaign had a simple message: we must make it easier for children to make better, healthier food choices by reducing the number of junk food ads they see every day.

It’s now time that kids in Australia receive the same protection. Our children are constantly targeted by advertisements for unhealthy, cheap, and easily accessible junk food.

As a former GP and a mother of three teens, I am deeply concerned about the rising rate of childhood obesity in Australia. One quarter of all children and two-thirds of adults are above the healthy weight range. Obesity and diabetes have become societal problems requiring a societal response, that’s why I introduced my Healthy Kids Bill in June.

I will continue to push the Government on this issue and advocate for the restriction on junk food companies targeting children both on television and online. A huge thank you to Jamie who is backing my bill.

Click here to read more.

Breaking News!

Alexander Primary School in Duffys Forest has just received a grant from the Federal Government under the Capital Grants Program. The grant will fund a new school library centre and learning spaces. This is exciting news for the Armenian community of Mackellar. Find information on the grant here.

Canberra Matters

The Forests Pledge:

We are facing an extinction crisis, an environmental crisis and a climate crisis.
That’s why I launched The Forests Pledge at Parliament House which aims to end industrial scale logging of public native forests Australia wide. My pledge has broad support from former federal and state environment ministers on both sides of the aisle, 30 scientists and over 40 leading environmental organisations including WWF, Australian Conservation Foundation and Doctors for the Environment.

Our native forests are critical in climate change mitigation and are vital for protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity. I was shocked to learn that our mature native trees are often used for low value products such as wood chips, tomato stakes and pallets. What’s worse the native forestry arm of the timber industry is loss making and depends upon hefty taxpayer subsidies to prop up the industry. Plantations are a far more profitable option and yield higher quality timber. The pine we need for housing construction is sourced from plantations.

Click here to find out more.

GP Health of the Nation Report:
As a proud former GP, the shortage of GPs around the country is an issue that is close to my heart.

Last Wednesday the Royal Australia College of General Practice (RACGP) released their Health of the Nation 2023 Report. It found that 71% of GPs are experiencing burnout and the number of junior doctors choosing to specialise in general practice continues to decline.

As a part of the launch, I sat on a panel alongside the Health Minster the Hon. Mark Butler, and president of the RACGP Dr Nicole Higgins, to discuss how the Government can address the widespread shortage of GPs across the country. Improving access to GP services starts with ensuring we have the skilled workforce we need. A well-functioning primary health service keeps people healthy, and takes pressure off our hospitals, EDs, ambulance services and surgery waitlists.

Advocating for a robust primary health care system will continue to be one of my biggest priorities for both the Mackellar community and nationwide.
You can read the report here.

Implementation of Robodebt Royal Commission recommendations:
The Australian Public Service (APS) is a fundamental pillar of our democracy but our trust in the independence and integrity of the APS was rocked in recent years following the illegal Robodebt scheme revelations. This is why it is vital that the recommendations of the Robodebt Royal Commission be implemented in full. So, I was honoured to second a motion by Kate Chaney MP, Independent Member for Curtin, calling for a parliamentary committee be established to oversee the timely and transparent implementation of all the recommendations.

Parliamentary Friends of Future Generations Roundtable:
As co-chair of the Parliamentary Group for Future Generations, and in the current context of growing intergenerational inequality, I want to see a process where young people’s futures are considered in policy decision making. In Canberra last week we held our final meeting for the year, alongside the Minister for Youth the Hon. Dr Anne Aly.

This year the group concentrated on the challenge of transitioning away from short-term decision-making focussed on the election cycle, towards longer term, visionary thinking that benefits people both now and into the future.

This is why I am backing David Pocock’s Duty of Care Bill which would ensure all climate related policy decisions consider the risk of harm to the health and well-being of current and future children of Australia.
You too can support the bill here.

Industrial Relations:
In the last sitting week, I gave a speech on the important but controversial legislation the Government has introduced on industrial relations reforms – the ‘Closing Loopholes Bill’. You can watch the speech here. This legislation will continue to be debated next week in the House and is set to be the focus of a Senate inquiry which is due to report in February 2024. I have consulted widely with the Mackellar business community, and stakeholder groups regarding this legislation and continue to welcome feedback from the Mackellar community.

Email: [email protected] 

Supporting Australian Music:
As co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Music, I will continue to champion our homegrown Australian musicians. It is an important industry that enriches our culture and economy.

Last week the legendary Aussie singer-songwriter G Flip performed a few songs at Parliament House, to build momentum towards the Arias awards night. This was a serious highlight for the younger members of my team.

Music is such an important part of our culture here on the Northern Beaches, and we punch way above our weight when it comes to fostering incredible local talent, so I look forward to continuing to back a vibrant music industry here in Australia.

Mackellar Matters

Speakers visit to Narraweena Primary School:
The students at Narraweena Primary School thoroughly enjoyed playing the roles of Speaker and Members of Parliament when the real Speaker, the Hon. Milton Dick visited Mackellar Narraweena Primary School this month (and yes, the kids were way better behaved than many parliamentarians). I’m passionate about engaging the kids of Mackellar in their democracy and am always impressed and proud of how thoughtful and inquisitive students across the Northern Beaches are when I visit their schools, or they visit me in Canberra.

Mackellar Youth Partnership Program:
Last week was the final meeting of the year of the Mackellar Youth Partnership Program. I thoroughly enjoyed working with and learning from this exceptional group of year 12 leaders who were so eager to engage with their democracy. It has been a pleasure to get to know each of them. Over the year we discussed ways to improve the involvement of young people in our democracy and I learned from them about the major issues facing young people on the Northern Beaches, and potential solutions.

A highlight was creation of the group’s Measuring What Matters submission to the Treasury Department – as Mackellar’s contribution to Australia's first national wellbeing framework.

The team and I are very much looking forward to continuing the programme next year.

Narrabeen Lakes Primary Australian Marine Conservation Society banner:
What a special gift. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Narrabeen Lakes Primary School as they presented me with a beautiful banner they had made in collaboration with the Australian Marine Conservation Foundation to highlight the plight of endangered Australian animals. The banner is now proudly on display in my electorate office. Thank you for inviting me to your school and for caring so deeply about the protection of our environment and wildlife.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
Kimbriki Hub is a beacon of recycling in our community, and I enjoyed attending their annual open day earlier this month. It was fantastic to see the amazing innovation and kindness from several non-for-profit organisations working together to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. The volunteers from the Peninsular Toy Repair Group. Bikes4Life and Boomerang Bags all do incredible work to support our community and families in need around the world. Thank you for what you do! Learn more here.

Community Northern Beaches Gala:
The Community Northern Beaches end of year Gala to raise funds to support their frontline workers is always a special event and this year was no exception. It was great to chat with keynote speaker Nedd Brockmann, the young man who ran from Perth to Bondi Beach (100km a day) raising over $2 million for homelessness. What an inspiration. His motto – ‘Just get s**t done’.

Homelessness and food insecurity continue to be a problem even here on the beautiful Northern Beaches, so jump online to see how you can help with food or dollar donations. Visit their website here.

The Give Hub – Christmas Box Drive :
One week left!

We are once again participating in The Give Hub Christmas hamper drive as a drop off point for boxes. We will be collecting them until Friday December 1st.

For this coming Christmas, The Give Hub has partnered with 25 different charities to distribute boxes of non-perishable food and other goods to families in need. This year, as we face extreme cost-of-living pressures, this campaign is especially important.

You can contact my office to collect a branded box and an instruction sheet, which will have a list of recommended items to include. Simply fill the box with items on the list including some Christmas treats, then return it to my office (or any of the nearby locations listed).

I look forward to our community coming together again, to make Christmas happier for many families.

Constituent Win

Beach Accessible Wheelchair:
Thanks to a Commonwealth grant through my office, the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club has now received a beach accessible wheelchair. We are very lucky on the Northern Beaches to have clubs which are trying to increase beach accessibility for everyone. It is important to me that all people can enjoy our beautiful local natural environment. There are also wheelchairs available for use at Bilgola, Newport, Collaroy and South Steyne Beaches. If you would like to utilise a free wheelchair, just get in touch with the club or lifesaving team on duty. See here for more information.
Or here.

Cottage Point Update:
It’s great news to hear everything is on track regarding the power upgrade at Cottage Point. On Friday the mobile tower was officially installed. Captain of the Cottage Point Rural Fire Brigade Jon Russell has kept my team updated and is liaising with the workers daily. This is great news for the community and local residents.

Upcoming Events

AI for Small Business:
AI is going to affect us all. I am delighted to offer the small business community of Mackellar the opportunity to learn how to enhance their marketing by harnessing the power of AI. The workshop will be presented by Realise Business in my electorate office in Narrabeen. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, this free workshop is one not to be missed.
Date: Tuesday November 28, 6:30-8.30pm | Mackellar Electorate Office | Click here to registrar.

Mackellar Community Grant Training:
After the great success of our small business grant application workshop, we are proud to present a FREE workshop for the community organisations of Mackellar.
Join us to learn easy and practical steps for:
- Accessing grants
- Applying for grants
- Resources and templates to give you the confidence and skills to start your grants journey.
Date: Monday December 4, 6:30pm-8:30pm | Mackellar Electorate Office | Click here to registrar.

Elanora Christmas Markets:
The Elanora Christmas market is back for their second year. This time it will be even bigger and better. Come along to enjoy live music, family friendly activities and kick start your Christmas shopping from a range of local business stalls. If this isn’t reason enough, the event is entirely community run and will raising funds for MWP community care. Click here for more details.

This month I have also met with Madeleine Steel the CEO and Director of local organisation EPIC, empowering parents in a time of crisis. They will be holding a couple of support webinars before the end of the year on how to encourage conflict resolution skills and a mind and body regulation session. Thank you for the work you do to support our local parents. Click here to find out more.

Public Announcements

The COVID-19 Response Inquiry Panel is now inviting interested people and organisations to make a submission and/or provide evidence to inform recommendations that aim to improve Australia’s preparedness for future pandemics.
All submissions and evidence MUST be relevant to the COVID-19 Response Inquiry’s terms of reference. The closing date for submissions is 15 December 2023. Click here for more details on how to best prepare a submission if this is relevant to you.

Sophie in the Media

The Guardian
November 15

Australian children exposed to aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods

Northern Beaches Advocate
November 8

Beach wheelchair for Mona Vale

Sydney Morning Herald
November 13

Report finds 1200 alleged breaches in native forest logging

The Conversation
November 13

Halfway through their term, the ‘teal’ MPs look here to stay

The Australian
November 17

Labor blasted for secret infrastructure cuts

The Guardian
November 13

‘Enough is enough’: former Coalition environment minister joins push for a national ban on native forest logging

The Today Show
November 17

Sophie On The Today Show

ABC Radio
November 13

ABC Drive with Andrew Macdonald