What a fantastic win by the Matildas on Saturday night! Congratulations to the team. The whole country is behind you!
We dived straight into it again when Parliament returned after the mid-winter break. I joined my crossbench colleagues to call on the Government to step up and accelerate ambitious climate policy. Australia still lags behind on climate action despite clear scientific evidence of the need to act urgently. Of great concern was the introduction of the Government’s Sea Dumping Bill, which would enable Australia to import and export carbon dioxide and inject and sequester it under our seabed using failed Carbon Capture and Storage technology. This Bill would allow the likes of Santos's Barossa mine to go ahead and circumvent our Safeguard Mechanism, at a time when we know we have to stop approving gas and coal mines. See more on this below.
I also strongly supported Independent Senator David Pocock’s Duty of Care and Intergenerational Equity Bill and Fair Play For Radio Bill. The Duty of Care Bill would enshrine into law, a requirement for governments to consider the impact of climate harm on young people in their decision-making. Whilst the Fair Play For Radio Bill will ensure that artists and their agents can negotiate fair remuneration. Read more on both Bills below.
It’s been six years since the Change of Course investigation into sexual violence in universities recommended the implementation of key steps to address this. However students say that many universities are still not meeting basic requirements. It is for this reason that I joined my crossbench colleagues and called on Education Minister Jason Clare to establish an independent taskforce to hold universities accountable for sexual violence.
Locally, after speaking to all stakeholders including the Federal Minister for Communications, on the need to expedite the construction of the Cottage Point mobile phone base station, I am relieved to see site preparation works are due to start today! See more below.
And following my call for the CEO of Northern Beaches Hospital to resign if the 4 acute adolescent mental health beds are not in place by Christmas and my advocacy on the issue with the NSW Health Minister, we now have a deadline on the hospital to deliver an implementation plan. I spoke with the NSW Mental Health Minister last week about this and more broadly, on the need to boost publicly available youth mental health services on the Northern Beaches.
Finally, thank you to everyone who joined the conversation at the Voice to Parliament Community Forum and The Life Electric Community Net Zero Expo that my team and I hosted last month. Both events were a huge success! Read on to find out more.
Call for Government to accelerate ambitious climate policy
Following the UN Secretary General’s statement that the world had now entered an era of ‘global boiling’, this week I joined my crossbench colleagues to call for the Albanese Government to urgently fast track ambitious climate policy. We can no longer have a Government that says one thing and does another. In the last three months we’ve seen three coal mines approved. We also have mega gas projects looming - Scarborough, Barossa, Beetaloo - and we have the ocean floors continuing to be opened up for exploration. I’m calling for an urgent phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and for the Government to stop throwing $11 billion a year at an industry that is the lead contributor to climate change. View my speech.
Protesting the Middle Arm
I joined 80 paediatricians and doctors who came to Parliament last week to protest the Government's $1.5 billion investment in the Middle Arm Gas Export Project in Darwin and also to say NO to the Beetaloo Basin and Barossa - 2 enormous gas projects that will destroy local environment, harm the health of locals and create a monumental amount of greenhouse gases into the future.
Opposing the Government’s Sea Dumping Bill
I moved amendments to the Government’s proposed Sea Dumping Bill, which as it stands, is a colossal attempt at greenwashing, creating a pathway for massive new gas developments. Unfortunately, my amendments were voted down by the Government and Opposition, and the Bill passed the Lower House and will now go to the Senate for debate. The science couldn’t be clearer – we can’t afford any more polluting fossil fuel projects to go ahead. View my Question in Parliament to the Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek here and my argument in Parliament against the Bill here.
Fair rights for Australian artists
Mackellar is home to so many incredibly talented musicians, from Angus and Julia Stone, Sons of the East, Lime Cordiale and The Rions. I stand by Senator David Pocock’s Fair Play For Radio Bill to ensure that artists and their agents can negotiate fair remuneration. Under laws established 55 years ago, artists are not able to negotiate a true market rate for their music because of legislative caps that have not been altered in 60 years. Such caps do not exist for any other type of copyright in Australia. It’s clear these regulations are extremely outdated. I support Pocock’s proposed Bill and the fair rights of our country’s artists. See my statement.
Supporting future generations
Despite children not being able to vote, every government must consider the impact of current policy on future generations. That’s why I 100% support David Pocock’s Duty of Care and Intergenerational Equity Bill, which would force Ministers to take the welfare of future generations into account when considering future fossil fuel projects. It’s time to prioritise younger Australians and our future, over the fossil fuel lobby. All too often short term political decisions to win over lobbyists harm our young people and future generations for decades. View my media statement here and show your support for the Bill here.
Deadline given on youth mental health beds
Following my call for the CEO of the Northern Beaches Hospital to resign if the 4 bed acute adolescent mental health unit is not established by Christmas, the NSW Mental Health Minister has given the hospital an 8-week deadline to produce an implementation plan. The hospital received $7.5 million in funding for the beds over 12 months ago by the previous State Government, yet 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.
Site works to begin at Cottage Point!
Following my meeting with the Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, on Thursday 13 July, a meeting of all stakeholders took place – this included Telstra, Amplitel, Optus, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ausgrid, the Communications Minister’s Senior Adviser, the Member for Pittwater, Jon Russell as the community representative, and myself. At that meeting I made it clear that the goal must be to deliver the mobile base station by December this year because the upcoming bushfire season poses a risk to residents’ safety. I am pleased to report that works to establish an Asset Protection Zone in preparation for construction now will begin. This is a huge win for the Cottage Point community, who have been waiting for reliable telecommunications for many years.
Good news story: 11-year-old Rafferty receives NDIS support
Mackellar resident Rafferty has been battling with Bilateral Perthes since the age of four. Now 11, Raf and his family hadn’t received any help from the NDIS despite their attempts. Earlier this year, his mother Elisa contacted our Electorate Office in hope that we could help. Two of our team members advocated for Raf via Bill Shorten’s office, and we’re proud to announce that he now has NDIS funding! Last month, Raf and his family came to the office to thank Meredith and Viv for their efforts and brought copies of his comic book series, Super Fry, for us to read. If you need help with Government services, get in touch with us via email or phone 9913 9566. See more here.
Standing room only at Voice Community Forum
Around 400 Mackellar locals attended the Voice to Parliament Community Forum on Wednesday 26 July at Pittwater RSL. The speakers were award-winning filmmaker and Arrenrnte and Kalkadoon woman, Rachel Perkins; 2023 NSW Australian of the Year and human rights activist Craig Foster; and local journalist, author and filmmaker Jeff McMullen. The night delivered an informative discussion covering what the Voice is, why Australia is being asked to vote on the Voice, and how it can help tackle the inequalities Indigenous Australians face. The discussion highlighted the high volume of misinformation on the issue online and in the media. I urge all of us to take the time to become informed prior to voting. Please visit our website to learn more: The Voice Referendum - Dr Sophie Scamps and view The Voice to Parliament Community Forum here.
Life Electric Net Zero Expo and Panel Discussion
Avalon was buzzing on Sunday 30 July as the Net Zero Expo drew a crowd of enthusiastic visitors. Featuring numerous stall holders there was expert advice on solar, EVs and other renewables solutions, music, food stalls and even test rides on electric bikes and mopeds. Many locals signed up to local initiatives run by volunteer groups including Go Solar Mackellar, Zero Emission Sydney North, Electrify Mackellar and NBCAN.
The headline event was The Life Electric Panel Discussion, organised in partnership with the Avalon Palm Beach Chamber Inc, and the discussion was a roaring success pulling an audience of over 300 people. On stage sharing their expertise and experience was Saul Griffith, inventor and founder of Rewiring Australia, and John Grimes, CEO of the Smart Energy Council. I’m looking forward to supporting Mackellar’s electrification journey as more households transition to clean energy and reduce the cost of living. Thank you to all of the volunteers and groups who contributed to this fantastic community event. Watch The Life Electric Panel Discussion here.
Volunteer grants: Expressions of Interest invitation
Expressions of interest are invited from eligible Mackellar community organisations to apply for the 2023-2024 Volunteer Grants. The Volunteer Grants assist eligible not-for-profit community organisations to support the efforts of their volunteers. Grants are between $1,000 and $5,000. Visit our Grants page for information on the grant guidelines and how to submit an EOI. Applications must be received by 5pm Wednesday 13th September. If you have any questions email or phone my office on 9913 9566.
Arts grants now open!
The Australian Council of Arts has just announced a new wave of grants for artists and not-for-profit art organisations. There’s a diverse range of funding and support on offer, for more detail and how to apply, view here.
Out and About
Students explore future careers
Jigsaw: Inclusion in action
One of the highlights of this job is the opportunity to meet so many fabulous people in our community such as Gabbi, Mitch and Louis who are working at Jigsaw. Jigsaw is a social enterprise that trains and transitions people into award wage employment. If you’re a business interested in creating a more inclusive workplace, by outsourcing work to or employing people with disability please reach out to Jigsaw here.
Be Centre Foundation: Charity gala dinner and auction
To raise funds for their important and supportive work with children and families, BE Centre Foundation is hosting their ‘Dancing in the Rain’ gala event on Friday 1 September 2023 from 6:15pm at the Manly Pacific. Based in Warriewood, BE Centre provides healing through play therapy for children who are experiencing emotional or social challenges or have experienced trauma. Book your tickets here.
Community Northern Beaches fundraising lunch
Local community-based organisation, Community Northern Beaches, are hosting their annual lunch to raise money for their work supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people. Often they are the first point of contact for people experiencing homelessness, domestic & family violence and refugee settlement challenges. To raise funds for their work a special lunch will be held at ‘Pilu at Freshwater’ featuring local surf legend, Layne Beachley AO as the key guest speaker. To book a ticket or a table for Wednesday 23 August, 2-4pm, visit here.
Have Your Say
Community Survey: Planning future GP workforce
Australia is experiencing a critical shortage of GPs, and as a former GP here in Mackellar, I know General Practice is approaching a crisis point. Help our health system improve by completing this short community survey for the Sydney North Health Network to assist them in getting a clearer picture of GP services here in Mackellar. Take the survey here.
Rental crisis: Share your experience
A Senate inquiry is underway on the worsening rental crisis in Australia and the Community Affairs References Committee would like to hear from people about their experiences of the rental situation in Australia. Please note that the committee cannot advise on, advocate for, or take action on individual matters. The group will present an interim report on 23 September to aid in the deliberations of the National Cabinet on renters' rights. A written submission or the provided submission form is due on Friday 1 September 2023. View here.
Wellbeing: Measuring What Matters
The first iteration of Australia's national framework on wellbeing ‘The 2023 Measuring What Matters Framework’ has been released. It is a living framework which will be used to; track and measure progress and wellbeing at a national and international level, support informed policy making, and improve accountability in government, industry and community sectors. The Government welcomes comments on what is presented in the statement and the online dashboard. View the Measuring What Matters Statement.
Sophie in the Media
The Guardian, August 3 - Teals criticise CO2 sea dumping bill as 'greenwashing' fossil fuel industry
The Australia Institute, August 2 - Ending the 'Jobs For Mates' Culture with Dr Sophie Scamps
Michael West Media, July 31 - Cayman-owned NBH performs world-first "Headinthesandectomy"
The Canberra Times, July 31 - Independent MPs back Pocock's climate duty of care bill for young people
Northern Beaches Advocate, June 27 - Scamps backs Yes campaign
2GB Radio,July 24 - Northern Beaches Hospital failing on mental health promises
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.