Fire and the Forest Community Forum
First up, I’d like to invite you to join me in conversation with former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins. The Bureau of Meteorology recently declared that an El Nino weather cycle is underway in Australia which means a hotter, drier summer. Our conversation will cover the drivers and risks of this weather and how our community can adapt and prepare for heatwaves and bushfires.
In parallel with this panel discussion, we’ll also be hosting a free expo of emergency and rescue services - open to all the community. So come along and discover steps you can take to protect your home, loved ones, business, community and our wildlife this bushfire season.
Capacity is limited, register here to secure a spot.
It was another action packed parliamentary sitting period this month. A highlight was hosting the delegation of Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin region in Parliament so they could share their stories through song and word about the catastrophic impact of fracking on their country, water and culture.
I was also proud to host in Parliament fellow Mackellar resident and the former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins. Greg briefed MPs on the impact climate change and the upcoming dry, hot El Nino summer will have on our communities and how to help our communities to prepare.
In support of our community's concerns about new convenience stores selling vapes that have popped up in Avalon, Newport, Mona Vale and other suburbs, I questioned the Health Minister in Question Time about the timeline for shutting down the illegal sale of vapes to children. See here.
As a member of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Friendship Group, I joined my fellow parliamentarians in calling for the prosecution and incarceration of Julian Assange to end. Read full letter here. I also joined cross party press conferences calling on the Government to protect whistleblowers David McBride and Richard Boyle, and to set a date to end live exports.
Following my meeting with Narrabeen Sports High School P&C and Schools Infrastructure NSW in July, it was wonderful to hear the news that urgent works will be undertaken at the school to repair and improve facilities for students and staff.
I also welcomed the NSW Government's announcement to stop native forest logging across 106 koala "hubs" located within the proposed perimeter of the Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast. Whilst this only covers 5% of the proposed park, it is a start. I have been advocating for an end to native forest logging since elected and I visited the Mid North Coast last month with NSW MP Michael Regan to bring further attention to the issue and see the impact of native forest logging for myself. See more below.
There are a number of wonderful community initiatives and events that you may like to take part in, including the Mackellar for Yes campaign, the Youth Voice in Parliament, the Multicultural Framework Review and a special movie event about the threatened Black Cockatoo. Read all about these and more below.
Finally, this week I launched a petition calling on the Northern Beaches Hospital (NBH) to establish the acute adolescent mental health beds our community needs. Despite the NBH being allocated $7.5 million in funding for four acute adolescent mental health beds over 12 months ago by the previous State Government, there is still no timeline for when the beds will be established. The Northern Beaches is in dire need of an inpatient youth mental health service. Sign the petition here.
Protecting the Betaloo Basin
Last week I hosted a delegation of Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin region in the NT in Parliament House. They shared stories through song and word about the catastrophic impact of fracking on their land and country. Their testimonies were deeply moving, with one Traditional Owner stating that it would be another Juukan Gorge moment for them if the Beetaloo Basin was to be opened up to fracking. They explained that the recently announced plan to extract a further 262 billion litres every year from local rivers to support the fracking industry, would be catastrophic for the region which is in danger of becoming a barren desert and would destroy the traditional way of life for First Nations Peoples. Read more here.
Increasing investment in public education
Despite the 2011 Gonski Review recommending the need for an equitable school funding system based on the number of students at each school, in 2023, public schools are still only being funded to 7.8 per cent below the Schooling Resource Standard. This equates to an annual funding shortfall to our public schools of $1.27 billion. In Parliament I highlighted the need for increased investment in public education to ensure that all children have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. View my speech here.
I joined my crossbench colleagues in calling on the Government to intervene in the cases of whistleblowers David McBride and Richard Boyle, who are facing lengthy jail terms for exposing wrongdoing in the military and ATO respectively. In both cases their whistleblowing has led to important reforms in these sectors, making Australia a fairer and better country. I co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Attorney-General, calling on the Government to step in to protect these honourable men, and to establish an independent whistleblower protection agency and commissioner before the end of its term. View press conference.
Supporting young Tibetan Australians
I was honoured to meet with a delegation of young Tibetan Australians, who shared their personal, harrowing stories with me. We are fortunate in Mackellar to have a large community of Tibetan people living here.
The delegation was in Parliament advocating for the Australian Government to;
• only acknowledge a Dalai Lama that is appointed by the Tibetan people;
• pass a Customs Act amendment preventing the importation of products made with slave labour;
• implement Magnitsky sanctions for individuals responsible for the colonial style boarding school system in Tibet which has been described by the UN as a form of cultural genocide.
It's time for a renewable energy investment plan
Without a comprehensive clean energy plan that takes advantage of the opportunities we have on our doorstep, we will risk losing ideas, companies, workers and investment capital overseas. I called on the Government to act urgently and develop Australia's own energy investment plan, like that of the US Inflation Reduction Act, to support Australia's transition to a renewable energy superpower and to build our domestic manufacturing and value-adding capacity. See full speech here.
Sign the petition for youth mental health beds
Despite the Northern Beaches Hospital (NBH) being allocated $7.5 million in funding for four acute adolescent mental health beds over 12 months ago by the previous State Government, there is still no timeline for when the beds will be established. The Northern Beaches is in dire need of an inpatient youth mental health service. While the private management of the hospital delays action, young lives are on the line and local families suffer. Sign the petition calling on the NBH to establish the adolescent mental health beds by Christmas. Our young people don’t deserve to be kept waiting.
Fact-finding mission to end native forest logging
The NSW Government's announcement last week stopping native forest logging across 106 koala "hubs" within the proposed Great Koala National Park was welcome news. However, it only covers 5% of the proposed park so there is more to do. This follows my recent visit with Independent MP for Wakehurst Michael Regan to the beautiful Wedding Bells State Forest on the Mid North Coast to see for ourselves the confronting extent of logging in our native forests and koala habitats.
The gut-wrenching part of native forest logging is that this critical wildlife habitat is used for low value products such as tomato stakes, pallets and wood chips. To add insult to injury, the native forest logging industry in NSW is loss making and must be propped up with subsidies from the public purse.
It’s time for the Albanese Government to end the logging of native forests and help fund a full transition to a sustainable plantation based industry.
Narrabeen Sports High fosters future Olympians
What an exciting time for Narrabeen Sports High, which has just become an Australian Olympic Pathway School. It was a pleasure to listen to Mackellar Olympians Jo Brigden Jones and Tilly Kearns and athlete Ruby Trew speak about their incredible sporting success at the school's announcement assembly. Being only one of seven Olympic Pathway schools in the state, I am sure this new alliance for Narrabeen Sports High School will lead many more Mackellar locals to compete in future Olympic Games.
Pat Farmer Run for The Voice
It was an honour to join ultramarathon runner and former federal Liberal MP Pat Farmer AM on his Run for the Voice when he passed through Mackellar recently. Pat is running 14,400km around Australia to raise awareness, support and engagement on the Voice to Parliament referendum. To find out more about the Voice, see here. Thank you to everyone who joined me en route with Pat!
50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War
The Mackellar community commemorated the 60,000 Australian personnel who served our country in the Vietnam War at a march and service at the Palm Beach RSL Cenotaph last month. This year marks 50 years since the end of the Vietnam War, which resulted in long term health impacts and psychological trauma for many of those who served, compounded by the fact that the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans was not properly recognised upon their return. I thank the Prime Minister for his apology earlier this year and hope that it goes some way to make these wrongs right and help heal the deep wounds.
ASF Active Kids Grant now open!
The Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) Active Kids Grant is available for volunteer-run community clubs and organisations with members aged 20 or younger. Grants will be awarded in the form of free sports equipment and on-field or training uniforms, to be supplied by ASF partners HART Sport and ISC. To find out more information and how to apply, please visit Active Kids Grants - Australian Sports Foundation. Please note this grant round is only open for a short time and closes 29 September 2023.
Small Business Grants Workshop - save the date!
Join us for a free information session on accessing and applying for grants to support your business. Practical, easy to follow steps, plus resources to give you the confidence and skills to start your grants journey.
Date: Thursday 19 October 7-9pm. Location: Mackellar Electorate Office, Shops 1&2, 1238- 1246 Pittwater Road, Narrabeen. More info to come shortly.
Fire and the Forest Community Forum
Join Sophie in conversation with Greg Mullins, Dr Simon Bradshaw and Tim Buckley about what to expect this summer – including what it means for the safety of our community and cost to our economy. Discover steps you can take to protect your home, loved ones, business, community and our wildlife this bushfire season. Capacity is limited, register here to secure a spot.
Black Cockatoo Crisis Movie Event
Don't miss the screening of Black Cockatoo Crisis - a film that highlights the plight of Black Cockatoos - on tonight Friday 22 September at 6.30pm at Dee Why RSL Showroom. Find out about the work Sophie is undertaking to protect our native forests and wildlife, including locally where the habitat of the Glossy Black Cockatoos and Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos could face similar fragmentation and destruction. Secure your free ticket here.
Mackellar for Yes Rally!
Family and friends are invited to take part in the Mackellar for Yes Rally at Village Park Mona Vale from 10am-12pm on Sunday 24 September. Join Sophie, along with Independent MP for Wakehurst Michael Regan, Labor Senator Tony Sheldon and Greens representative Ethan Hrnjak. For more information and to RSVP, see here.
Join the Mackellar for Yes Campaign
With the countdown on to the Voice referendum on October 14, Yes 23’s campaign is in full swing including their Mackellar for Yes campaign. With pre-poll commencing October 3rd, if you’d like to help them to raise awareness and share information on the Voice to Parliament, now is the time to sign up and be part of this unique opportunity in Australia's history.
Youth Voice in Parliament - speech writing competition!
November 13-16 gives one lucky person in Mackellar aged 25 or younger, the opportunity to raise their voice in Federal Parliament. MPs across the country have committed to reading a speech written by a young person, providing them with the
opportunity to raise the issues that matter most to them, in their own words. So, if you’re 25 or under and would like to be considered, please submit a 90-second speech addressing this question: What change would make Australia a better place for future generations? For more information and to make a submission, visit Raise our Voice here.
Have Your Say
Multicultural Framework Review
The Multicultural Framework Review is looking at ways for Government and the community to work together to support a cohesive multicultural society and advance a vibrant and prosperous future for all Australians. The Review Panel welcomes contributions reflecting a diversity of views and backgrounds to inform the findings and recommendations presented in the final report to the Australian Government.
Submissions close 29 September 2023. For more information or to make a submission see here.
Sophie in the Media
Northern Beaches Advocate
Northern Beaches Advocate
Get in touch
If there is an issue you would like to raise with me or something our electorate team can help you with, please email [email protected]. Also don’t forget to follow me on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.