Dear Mackellar resident,
Welcome back after the Easter Break. I hope you were able to spend some time recharging with family and friends. Whilst it was a time of rest for many, Easter unfortunately was a distressing time for the residents of Wesley Taylor Aged Care Facility in Narrabeen, who learnt of the imminent closure of their aged care facility. I too only learnt of Wesley Mission’s decision to close the facility when it was announced in the media and can appreciate that many residents and their families have concerns about their future care. To help ensure an orderly transition I have arranged weekly meetings with Wesley Mission and am in direct contact with the Department of Aged Care and Aged Care Minister Anika Wells. Please see more details below on how my team and I can help.
During the Easter break, I had the privilege of traveling to India on the invitation of the Australian Tibet Council. With Mackellar having the largest Tibetan community in Australia, I was invited to join a cross party delegation of federal parliamentarians to meet with the Tibetan parliament in exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing Tibetans at home and abroad. Read more below.
There’s also a lot happening in our community with grant opportunities, events and providing input into important national issues including early childhood development, cost of living pressures and the Government’s Measuring What Matters Statement. See more below.
Parliamentary delegation visit with Tibetan Council
Mackellar is proudly home to the largest Tibetan community in Australia due to Australia’s asylum policy for Tibetan political refugees - so I was honoured to be invited to Dharamsala in Northern India to hear about the challenges the people of Tibet face and to learn more about their wonderful culture and their dedication to preserve and protect it.
As one of the strongest democracies in the world Australia must play a role in supporting this new democracy which was established in 1959 after many had to flee their homeland.
Signatory to ACOSS letter
I signed an open-letter to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to raise the JobSeeker rate. The current rate means unemployed Australians are forced to survive on just $50 a day - the Government's own advisors say this low rate is a "barrier to finding work" and leaves many in poverty.
Australia can and should do better, instead of continuing to provide handouts to fossil fuel companies, we should prioritise helping our nation's most vulnerable. You can read the open letter from the Australian Council of Social Service, (which has also been signed by MPs, economists, charities and advocacy leaders), and lend your voice to the Raise the Rate campaign by calling on the PM to raise the JobSeeker rate here.
Meeting with Sophie Howe - Wellbeing Minister Wales
As co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group of Future Generations, I was delighted to meet with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales Sophie Howe, who is currently visiting Australia. Wales is held to be the gold standard when it comes to long term planning that takes account of the wellbeing - not only of the current population but also of future generations. During the meeting the Commissioner described the national conversation that was held in Wales in 2015 to determine what type of future society people would like to live in and how they would create and measure a sense of societal wellbeing.
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales' role is to act as a guardian for the interests of future generations in Wales and to support the public bodies listed in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to work towards achieving the wellbeing goals.
Here in Australia we are taking our first steps towards creating a system of indicators that measure wellbeing alongside economic growth, and you can have your say on the Federal Government’s Measuring What Matters Statement. The first consultation phase helped to develop a set of emerging policy themes. This second consultation invites the public to host their own feedback session based on the identified themes. A consultation paper is provided to assist you on planning a session, gathering feedback and providing it to the Government. See more here.
National Leadership Forum – Applications open!
Calling all young leaders in Mackellar – this is your chance to earn a place in this year’s National Leadership Forum. The 4-day forum takes place in Canberra in September and brings together future leaders from across Australia and the Pacific to explore and expand their leadership through the lens of values, compassion, and connection. Applicants must be 18-26 years of age and residents of the electorate of Mackellar. Full details on how to apply can be found here. Applications close Wednesday 17 May 2023. Please share this wonderful opportunity with friends and family.
Parliamentary Lecture – Climate change impacts on Australian industry
Take a front seat and listen online to the latest free Parliamentary Library lecture on Climate change impacts on Australian industry. The presentation features Melbourne University experts; Prof. Jacqueline Peel, an environmental and climate law specialist, and Prof. David Karoly, an internationally recognised expert on climate change and climate variability. View here.
Wesley Taylor closure – support for residents
I, like many in our community, was shocked and disappointed to find out through the media about Wesley Mission's decision to close its Narrabeen aged care facility – Wesley Taylor Aged Care – and to sell Wesley Taylor Retirement Village to a new operator. Unfortunately, Wesley Mission did not notify myself or the Government of its decision prior to the announcement.
Wesley Mission CEO has stated this decision to cease operations is a business one. This is a devastating decision for many residents and their families, who are understandably feeling uncertain about their future care. However, Wesley Mission has pledged to ensure all residents are placed safely into care arrangements that meet their needs and I have organised weekly meetings with Wesley Mission to help ensure the orderly transition of residents to appropriate facilities.
To date, 17 out of the 68 residents affected have found new accommodation suitable to their needs, all within the Northern Beaches area. My team and I are here to support you so please contact my office if you feel your rights or the rights of a friend of family member are not being upheld. Please contact my office at [email protected] or call 9913 9566 if you need support.
Commemorating Anzac Day
Thank you to all the RSL Sub Branches and community organisations who held Anzac Day services around Mackellar to commemorate those who served and are still serving our country. The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without great sacrifice so hearing the heartfelt tributes from Mackellar locals of all ages recognising the service and bravery of our servicemen and women was very moving. It was wonderful to see so many young people attending commemorations and learning about this part of our history. I’d also like to thank all those who work year-round to support the veterans in our community. I think there is a deep recognition that we must do more to support our veterans who often do it extremely tough on leaving active duty.
Lest we forget.
A win for vital community services
I recently wrote to the Northern Beaches Council expressing my concern over the proposal to defund a number of vital community services. Community Northern Beaches, Northern Beaches Women's Shelter and the Avalon Youth Hub provide support to our most vulnerable community members and without crucial council subsidies they will struggle to continue to do so. Following the council meeting on 18 April, all three of these valuable services had their funding extended at the existing rate for a further three years. Whilst I understand the intent of the funding review was to broaden Council’s support to the social services sector through a new community partnership grants program, I felt it should not be at the expense of these three organisations that provide critical crisis services to the Northern Beaches community. I look forward to working with Council and Northern Beaches’ community organisations in expanding support and crucial needs-based funding for the social services sector.
AGBU Alexander Primary School visit
It was an incredibly warm welcome at AGBU Alexander Primary School in Duffys Forest where I met with staff and students on Friday. It was wonderful to hear how the school is achieving academically and supporting students to learn about and take immense pride in their culture and heritage. In more solemn news about Armenia - the critical supply channel - the Lachin Corridor remains blockaded by Azerbaijan’s army and the people of Artsakh are cut off from the rest of Armenia and life sustaining supplies. International attention must be focused on the plight of Armenians.
Share local war memorials to ‘Places of Pride’
The Australian War Memorial invites our community to contribute to Places of Pride, a national online archive of photographs mapping war memorials across the country. War memorials include public monuments such as obelisks, memorial gates, cenotaphs, and trees, as well as honour roles and community buildings. Mackellar can contribute by sharing photographs of local memorials as well as their stories on Anzac Day commemorations. More information here.
Terrific toy library opens locally
EarlyEd have opened their Cubby House Toy Library at Manly and Mona Vale libraries. Toy Library is a fantastic resource you can use to trade in old toys for developmentally appropriate toys as your kids or grandkids get older. The initiative makes life easier for parents and cuts down on plastic waste. Check out their range of over 2000 toys here! They’re also always looking for new volunteers, if you’re interested contact EarlyEd on 9923 2727. More info here.
Have your say
Tackling cost of living pressures
My BIG community survey found the cost of living was one of the major issues facing many people, families and businesses here in Mackellar. I am currently drafting a submission on behalf of Mackellar to the Senate's 'Cost of Living' Select Committee and would encourage you to do the same via the online submission system. Alternatively, you can have your say by completing the 5-minute survey. I'll publish my response on my website soon, including ideas on how we can tackle the rising cost of living.
The NDIS Review is assessing the design, operations and sustainability of the NDIS to improve market and workforce responsiveness, support and sustainability. Stage one of the review focuses on listening to and understanding people's experiences and concerns. For more information and have your say, visit here.
Indigenous Voice to Parliament
With Parliament passing the Constitution Alteration Bill, Australians will be voting on whether to recognise our First Nations peoples in our Constitution later this year. We’ll also be voting on whether to create an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. My team and I would like to know your thoughts on this and would ask if you could complete a short three question survey. Click this link to complete the survey. Please share this with family and friends in Mackellar to ensure everyone has their say!
Arts grants now open!
ABC Top 5 Arts
The ABC TOP 5 Arts is a two week residency for early-career Arts researchers — with or studying for — a PhD in visual arts, architecture, design, performance, screen, literature, or music. See here.
International Literature Rights
Contributions of $5000 are available for literary agents, rights managers and publishers to attend international markets such as book fairs to sell rights in Australian works. See here.
Community battery opportunity!
Mackellar has led the way in community energy with the first community battery of its kind on Australia’s east coast established in Beacon Hill in 2021. We now have the opportunity to increase our community battery capacity with Expressions of Interest invited for ARENA’s Community Batteries Funding Round 1. To be eligible for funding, each community battery must be between 50kW and 5MW in size and connected to the distribution network. More information on eligible applicants, funding guidelines and the application see here. Please contact my office to discuss and find out more information on [email protected]
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.
Sophie in the news
MPs sign open letter urging Albanese to raise the rate of JobSeeker
Further delays for forgotten Sydney suburb stranded without phone and internet
We will continue to wore tirelessly to seek justice for the Tibetan people: Senator Janet Rice
Feature story on Dr Sophie Scamps trip to India with Australia Tibet Council
Australian lawmakers meet with Dalai Lama, government-in-exile in northern India
Fears over shock closure
Sydney aged care Wesley Mission closures