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Strengthening the Safeguard Mechanism

Dear Mackellar resident,

Parliament resumed today and it’s going to be a big two weeks in Canberra with a debate about the Safeguard Mechanism taking up most of the agenda. I’ll also be moving a motion to end native forest logging and delivering a speech to share insights on my recent visit to Papua New Guinea as part of a multi-partisan Parliamentary delegation.

There are so many wonderful initiatives happening in Mackellar in support of our community. This week I was able to take part in the opening of Mowana Northern Beaches Safe Space, the Northern Beaches Special Olympics Athletics team training session and Warringah Archery Club’s International Women’s Day Competition. I also held the first session of my Mackellar Youth Partnership Program.

And with the State Election upon us with pre-poll already open and Election Day on Saturday, it’s never been more important to have your say in who you would like to represent you in State Parliament. Having independent representatives at both the state and federal levels of government would mean that together we could amplify the voice of our community on the issues the major parties have failed to truly represent our community on. Don’t forget to number every box and happy voting!

Dr Sophie

Canberra Matters

Strengthening the Safeguard Mechanism
The Safeguard Mechanism, Labor’s signature carbon emissions reduction policy, will be hotly debated in the coming weeks in Parliament. It is proposed that the mechanism will help to reduce carbon emissions from the 215 biggest polluters. However, the effectiveness of the scheme to do this is being contested. The current design of the mechanism allows for an unlimited use of carbon offsets meaning no real pollution reductions are required and companies can instead pay to continue to pollute. There are also no limits to increasing pollution.

Analyses by both Climate Analytics and Reputex have separately concluded that the mechanism is likely to lead to a rise in emissions and pollution as it permits unlimited growth in new coal and gas projects. Additionally, the mechanism only addresses Scope 1 emissions, that is, those emissions that are created when a commodity is being produced. It does not address Scope 3 emissions which is what happens for example when coal or gas is shipped overseas and burnt – which is when the vast majority of carbon emissions are released.

Repeated polling has shown that addressing the climate crisis is a primary concern for the people of Mackellar, so I’ll be pushing for amendments to ensure the scheme does actually reduce real emissions.

Addressing international responsibilities on climate and environment
This sitting week I’ll be introducing a Private Member’s Motion calling on the Government to end industrial native forest logging. The 2022 State of the Environment Report made for devastating reading – with entire ecosystems deemed under threat of complete demise.

In 2020, logging destroyed or degraded 40,000 hectares (400 sq km) of Australian public native forests. This was on top of the hundreds of thousands of hectares lost during the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/20
Logging of native forests destroys crucial habitat for threatened and endangered species such as koalas, greater gliders and Leadbeater’s possum. Data also shows logging of our native forests reduces carbon storage, increases fire hazard and reduces water quality in rivers and dams and undermines regional tourism. Additionally, native forest logging requires substantial public funding to operate.

I’ll be calling for the Government to end the exemption of State Regional Forestry Agreements from our National Environmental Laws and to fund the transition to a plantation-based forestry industry, recognising the importance of forestry jobs in regional Australia and the need for sustainable wood products in the future.

Strengthening ties with PNG
In January this year I had the privilege of revisiting Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of a multi-partisan Parliamentary delegation with Pacific Friends of Global Health and Save the Children Australia. Within the next two sitting weeks I will share insights from our five day visit, and delve into the importance of strengthening ties with our northern neighbour and the serious health challenges they are facing . Right now, PNG has some of the worst health outcomes in the world with high levels of malaria, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and high levels of HIV transmission from mothers to new babies.

Celebrating the first women elected to Parliament
It was a memorable experience to be in Canberra on International Women's Day for the unveiling of tributary bronze statues of Dame Enid Lyons and Dame Dorothy Tangney, the nation’s first federal female politicians sworn in 80 years ago. Their individual stories were fascinating and despite hailing from different parties, Lyons and Tangney paved the way for female representation and leadership. I was honoured to stand with crossbench colleagues from across the political spectrum to celebrate past, present and future female representation in Parliament.

Mackellar Matters

Services: We're here to help
As your federal MP, my team and I can assist you with services that include My Aged Care, NBN, NDIS, Centrelink, ATO, Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Passports. We also have a Justice of the Peace service on Tuesday and Fridays. To find out more or to make an appointment, contact us at [email protected] or call 9913 9566.

Opening of Mowana Safe Space
It's almost a year ago when I first met the team behind Mowana Northern Beaches Safe Space whose aim was to establish a safe space for anyone in emotional distress or with suicidal ideation to come and speak to someone for support. It was an honour to attend the opening of Mowana Safe Space, which is at The Mind Cafe at Narrabeen every Friday and Saturday from 5pm-9pm. This is about building a team and support network around you and this type of community-led drop in centre is just invaluable to people who are having a difficult time. Please reach out if you would like support.

Back on the track!
It was a wonderful way to end the working week last Friday joining a training session of the Northern Beaches Special Olympics Athletics team. Congratulations on those who put in a great session and all the coaches and parents. Your kindness and dedication reaps such wonderful rewards for all involved.

Mackellar Youth Partnership Program underway
Mental health, inclusiveness of diversity and future stability were among the issues discussed during the first of six sessions of the Mackellar Youth Partnership Program. My program invites student representatives from Year 12 from all Mackellar schools to join me to delve into the issues most important to our youth and collaborate on what actions they would like to see taken in Federal Parliament. It was inspiring to meet and learn from such an engaged group of students and I’m looking forward to our next session.

Nominate a local hero
Westfield local Heroes 2023 recognises local individuals and organisations who work hard to drive positive impacts in the local community. Accepting nominations until March 30, the program showcase individuals who make a beneficial impact on their local community in a variety of ways, including family and youth support, inclusion, health, community and much more. More information here.


Energy efficiency grants for businesses
If you're a small to medium business looking to upgrade inefficient equipment, now is the time to consider applying for the Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. These grants will support businesses to upgrade equipment to improve their energy efficiency, reduce their energy use and manage energy cost volatility in the long term. Visit here for more information on eligibility and how to apply. Closes Wednesday 19 April 2023.

Stronger Communities Programme EOI closing soon!
Only four days left to put in an Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Stronger Communities Programme, which provides each federal electorate with $150,000 to fund small capital projects. For this round, grant funding will be up to 100% of eligible project costs except for local governing bodies where grant funding will be up to 50% of eligible project costs. A maximum of 20 projects will be funded in each electorate. See here to find out more information on eligibility and how to submit an EOI. Closing Friday March 24.

Upcoming events

SOS - Save Our Swans
As we’ll all be out-and-about voting on Saturday 25 March, why not join the Save Our Swans (SOS) event at Dee Why Lagoon and contribute to the Dune Restoration Project. The event runs from 8am–12pm at Dee Why Lagoon – north side of Dee Why Surf Club – volunteers need enclosed shoes, hats, sunscreen and water bottles. Details here.

Manly Spin-a-thon for youth mental health
Don’t miss out on a fun day out on Saturday 1st April, as Community Capital Foundation (link), a local charity, runs their first-ever ‘Manly Spin-a-thon” – an outdoor, spin cycling fundraising event aimed to build awareness and raise much-needed funds for Waves of Wellness (link) to run their unique youth mental health surf therapy programs. Running from 10am–3pm next to ANTHEMCYCLE, Sydney Road, Manly. Details here.

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.

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