Community Newsletter

Advocating for Integrity, Climate, Housing Affordability & the Environment

5 July 2023

It’s been a busy first half of the year with 10 sitting weeks in Parliament completed. Now in the winter break, I’m enjoying getting out and meeting with more local constituents and putting a lot of planning in place ahead of our return to Canberra at the end of July.  


Zali in Parli


Truth in Political Advertising recommendation is a win for democracy

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) has recommended that the government legislate truth in political advertising. I have been advocating for this reform since 2021 through my Stop the Lies Private Members Bill, which would establish a division within the Australian Electoral Commission to regulate political advertising.


These recommendations are a welcome development, as currently it is perfectly legal to lie in a political advertisement in Australia. This reform is sorely needed, as public trust in politicians has been eroded over time. Some of this erosion is due to the ability of politicians to lie in political ads. I am pleased to see that the JSCEM's recommendation is in line with my bill. I will work with the government to see this important legislation through.  Read the JSCEM Interim Review. 


Freedom of speech is important but so is privacy

The recent leaking of confidential information from a police investigation into a previously reported, alleged sexual assault at Parliament House has raised concerns about media privacy standards.


The media should not have a free pass to publish information produced under compulsion in legal proceedings and protected by undertakings to the Court. The publication of this private material undermines trust in the criminal justice system and is not in the public interest. Both the Privacy Act Review and the Australian Law Reform Commission have recommended strengthening the privacy standards that media organisations should consider prior to publication. I believe this recent incident, and the impending Government response to the Privacy Act Review, provide an opportunity to tighten regulation of media privacy standards to uphold the integrity of the courts and the confidence of complainants in the production of evidence.


I asked the Attorney General about this issue in question time and will continue to work with him to ensure that if the media cannot hold themselves to a greater ethical standard, then the government needs to step in.


Harmful Advertising Gambling
Fellow independent Zoe Daniel MP introduced a Bill earlier this month to address the harms of gambling through restrictions on advertising of gambling products. Last fortnight, I supported a debate that the prevention of harmful advertising bill be considered as a matter of urgency. We know that gambling is costing Australians over $25 billion a year and we throw away more per capita than any other nation. Gambling advertising and the targeting of young people, particularly online, is a key driver of that wastage. This Bill would seek to prevent that, and I strongly support the Member for Goldstein’s call for greater restrictions.  


Trade Support Loans and HECS/HELP

I spoke in support of the Government’s move to broaden the Trade Support Loans which are available to apprentices and others undertaking vocational education and training along similar terms as HECS/HELP loans are provided for university students. In my speech I called for the Government to reconsider the indexation of the Trade Support Loans as well as HECS/HELP loans to CPI, proposing that it should be indexed to the lower of CPI, the wage price index or the RBA official cash rate. This would avoid sudden spikes in the cost of the loans when inflation rises harshly as it has this year, compounding the cost of living concerns for those with study related debt.



Middle Arm Project - greenwashing at best

The Government continues to insist that the Middle Arm ‘Sustainable Development Precinct’ in the Northern Territory is not a fossil fuel project. This is greenwashing at its best as the project was first established as a key element to the Morrison Government’s ‘gas-led recovery’. It was and still is a driver of demand for gas fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. Without Middle Arm, there is very little in the business case for fracking the Beetaloo. Further, it is incompatible with any Net Zero emissions goals. The Government’s support for fracking the Beetaloo Basin is entirely at odds with its emissions reduction goals. I aired my concerns about the integrity of the allocation of $1.5 billion of public funding to the Middle Arm project in Parliament and raised my concerns with the Prime Minister and the Minister in Question Time. Please contact me if you would like to be kept informed on this project.


Household electrification

As energy prices rise and local households are impacted by increasing costs of living, I am urging the Government to increase assistance to households and landlords to electrify homes and buildings with heat pumps and induction cooking, install rooftop solar and batteries. Such investments are deflationary and result in households saving up to $3,450 per year as well as reducing their emissions. 


The crossbench drove a debate on household electrification in the House. This is one of the key ways that we as citizens can assist with the decarbonisation of the energy sector as well as reducing costs of living pressures. Gas cooking, heating and hot water is a major source of emissions for our households. As the electricity sector decarbonises, so too does the electricity we consume in the household. Gas use on the other hand continues to drive fossil fuel extraction and is a health risk to us, our families and our pets. When deciding to replace appliances and vehicles we need to be thinking about our future, get off gas and choose electric appliances.


Zali Steggall speaks about the urgent need for household electrification


If you would like more information on how to decarbonise your household and/or your business, check out the updated Climate Act Now website and see the 5 simple ways you can decarbonise your home or your workplace.


Nature Repair Market Bill Strengthened by Crossbench Amendments

The Nature Repair Market Bill 2023 seeks to establishes a voluntary national market for biodiversity enhancement and protection. Eligible landholders can receive tradeable certificates through a national register.


My Amendments to Nature Repair Market Bill  prioritise integrity standards outlined in the Chubb Review and enhance accessibility for small landholders and First Nations communities. Additional crossbench amendments further strengthened the Bill and included options to exclude certificates from environmental offsetting (Wentworth), improve transparency and accountability (North Sydney), implement Chubb review recommendations (Goldstein), and uphold biodiversity and international commitments (Curtin).  Special thanks to the Australian Land Conservation Alliance for their leadership and support, and also thanks to the Minister for her constructive engagement.


Ensuring integrity and confidence in this biodiversity market is vital for Australia to lead the way in nature and conservation. A nature commission fund similar to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is now needed to drive investment in the market, and the long-awaited Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act reform will also be critical to the success of the Nature Repair Market. In my speech on the Nature Repair Market Bill I raised a number of concerns, in particular the delay in delivering the long awaited EPBC reform.


The Bill now goes to a Senate Inquiry before being debated in the Senate. I look forward to the Senate Committee recommendations and hope the Minister and all parties, especially the Greens, will work constructively together to support greater conservation outcomes in Australia.


Keep up to date with all my Parliament updates  and my voting record.


Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is at crisis point in Australia and people in Warringah, particularly young people, are telling me they are very concerned. In Warringah, rental vacancies are less than 1% and mortgage stress is rising with 17% of households having mortgage payments over 30% of household income. Homelessness is also a concern with research suggesting there are 500 homeless people in Warringah and another 1300 in need of urgent social housing.

While there seems to be little consensus about how to address this across the political spectrum, there is widespread agreement that things will only get tougher without intervention.


Citizens' Assembly

Together with a number of my crossbench colleagues, we called for the Government to support the establishment of a Citizens' Assembly to address housing shortage and affordability. The aim would be to find some consensus and provide recommendations from the community about how to tackle one of the biggest issues our country is facing right now.

A Citizens' Assembly has the potential to break the current policy inertia by the major parties and facilitate the discovery of sustainable, long-lasting solutions. The crossbench will be urging the government to get behind it.


Other solutions on the table
And there is strong merit in existing proposals. For example, the Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund is important but it is not sufficient on its own. We need additional measures that will provide both immediate relief and longer-term strategies. Raising rent assistance, incentives for long-term rentals, restricting short term holiday rental and low-cost rental bond loans could all form part of the solution.

We recently attended the PowerHousing Australia Roundtable where a range of sensible recommendations were put forward to address the need for social and affordable housing.

As we face this crisis, we must listen to both experts and the community to find solutions within our existing system, as well as pursue long-term systemic change.


Housing and transport interconnected

The discussion around housing availability and affordability can’t be had in a vacuum. We know we need more homes, but these must be developed with public transport and transport infrastructure in mind.

Unfortunately, we’ve had bad news on the transport front with the Beaches Link Tunnel being shelved, but without alternatives, Warringah residents will be left stranded.


After many years of waiting for a commitment to fixing the Spit Bridge, the Beaches Link Tunnel, if done right, was to provide a pivotal solution to one of the most congested and overlooked traffic corridors in Sydney.



Grants Watch

My grants team is always on the lookout for grants to help individuals, community organisations, not for profits and businesses in Warringah with funding for capital projects, research, innovation, volunteers and more.


Over the last financial year, there have been 137 federal grants with a total value of $36,545,474 delivered to Warringah.


At a community level

The Local Sporting Champions and Local Para Champions programs provide financial assistance for coaches, officials and competitors participating in state, national or international championships. In the 2022-23 financial year, 182 Warringah residents shared in $118,850 in funding from the Australian Sports Commission (Ausport) to assist individuals with travel to national and international competitions.


26 very worthy Warringah organisations including Tour de Cure, North Steyne SLSC, Neutral Bay Community Centre and One Meal Northern Beaches shared in $66,225 to assist with training costs, the purchase of small equipment and background and screening checks for volunteers.


And in the most recent round of the Stronger Communities Program, following community consultation, we have nominated 18 eligible projects to the value of $150,000 to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to assist these not-for-profit organisations with funding for small capital projects which will improve local community participation and contribute to vibrant and viable communities.


If you'd like to receive monthly newsletters about grant opportunities please email  [email protected] to be added to our grants database. 

Out & About Snapshot

Happy 100th anniversary to the CWA!
It was so wonderful to join the CWA Manly Branch for lunch to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Country Women’s Association this month.

The CWA is Australia's largest women's organisation and aims to improve conditions for country women and children. Women from the country and the city connect in their local branches to fundraise, cook, create and teach others new skills.

Thanks to all those who came to celebrate, and the highlight really was the homemade treats we had for dessert.


World Ocean Day event at Redlands
It was great to attend a World Ocean Day event at Redlands School and engage with environment captains from Redlands and other students across the state.


Joining a panel of guest speakers, including marine scientist Sarah-Jo Lobwein, plastic-free campaigner Kal Glanznig and artist/environmental campaigner Tim Johnston. We heard about a number of ways we can all reduce our plastic pollution and improve the state of our oceans for generations to come.


The Newsroom

The Saturday Paper - Van referred to a body with no real powers

Media Watch - No Winners

The Guardian - Labor under fire over $1.5m stake in Middle Arm industrial precinct


Warringah for the Voice

Warringah for the Voice is a network of volunteers and community members who wish to engage our community by providing information, facilitating conversations and holding events. Convened and supported by me as the Independent Member for Warringah, Warringah for the Voice welcomes all members of the community who’d like to support the YES vote.


Are you interested in joining us? For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, visit Warringah for the Voice


If your organisation or business would like to discuss how we can help you engage your members and staff, please get in touch at [email protected] . We can help you run Q&A sessions, provide info material or set up “info spots”.

Kitchen Table Conversations

Warringah for the Voice has kick-started its Kitchen Table Conversations (KTC). These interactive sessions help participants gain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander history, the Uluru Statement and the Voice referendum. The sessions are small, friendly group discussions, based on the Together, Yes program. Let us know if you’re interested in attending and/or hosting a KTC at [email protected] or

Other events in our community

  • Voice to Parliament: Community Forum, hosted by Voices of Bradfield in St Ives (Sun 23 July 3.15pm)
    Speakers: Nicolette Boele, Zali Steggall, Dr. Shireen Morris, Adam Davids, Desmond Campbell Register here  
  • The Voice to Parliament Community Forum, hosted by Good for Manly (Wed 19 July 6pm) 

Speakers: Tony McAvoy, Jasper Thatcher
Register here 

Walking Together Workshops Powerful information session of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, lived experience of Indigenous people, the Uluru Statement and the Voice Referendum
Stanton Library, North Sydney Sat 22 July 10am or Mosman Art Gallery, Mon 24 July 6pm