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We are grassroots independents who serve and innovate with our community, helping us all rise to our best potential.  Collaborating with and accountability to our community is so important to us.

Please share your ideas on how we can stand up on your behalf on the issues that are important to you. We're in this together.  




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This introduction is sourced from this article in Manly Observer.

Penguin in the night in Manly - searching for a nest
Little Penguin Eudyptula Minor also known as the blue penguin and previously known as fairy penguins Photo: Ken Stepnell DPIE

Manly is home to the only breeding colony of Little Penguins in all of mainland Australia. And it’s a colony on the brink – the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has just completed their count for the 2020-21 season and recorded just 23 breeding pairs of Little Penguins, a fraction of its former might.

For comparison, we asked for the the count from the 2013-14 and 2014-15, and there were 70 and 67 breeding pairs in each year respectively. That number was reduced significantly the following year thanks to menacing foxes, but it was slowly climbing back up in the thirties by 2019. But now just 23 pairs. In less than eights years a drop from 140 breeding penguins to just 46.

Taronga Conservation Society’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health project officer Jane Hall confirmed her team wasn’t seeing Little Penguins as frequently they used to. “We’re not seeing them come in alive very often, and we’re not seeing them come into the registry either,” she said. “We’re not sure what’s happening.”

Manly Ward Councillor Sarah Grattan, from Your Northern Beaches Independent Team, had been working with Council staff and National Parks and Wildlife Service to do something to protect the dwindling penguin population.

One thing that is not commonly understood by the public is that breeding penguins search for a place to nest on selected beaches in Manly. If the penguins smell any scent of dogs, it indicates danger and they will not come ashore to rest and breed. This is why it is critically important to keep dogs off the beaches in Manly where the penguins nest.

Other key threats to Manly's little penguins include fox and cat incursion, boat strikes and changes in oceanic conditions

On Tuesday 28 September 2021, the day before this Manly Observer article was written, Cr Sarah Grattan put forward a notice of motion to accurately track the penguin population and give additional support to the authorities who can protect the penguins.

Melbourne's Penguins Are Almost Extinct

We have an update on 'Saving Manly's Penguins' in from Council yesterday.

Here are the recommendations put forward by Council to Save Manly's Penguins.

The endangered population of Little Penguins at Manly is managed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (NPWS and EES divisions) with advice from the local advisory group, Little Penguin Recovery Team.

Council is a member of the Recovery Team which is a multi-agency group with representatives from DPIE, NPWS, volunteer Penguin Wardens, Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Q-Station, Sydney Coastal Councils Group and TfNSW.

Council staff continue to work closely with lead agencies and volunteer groups (e.g. Manly Penguin Wardens) to address key threats to the endangered population.

Councillor Sarah Grattan would like to thank every single one of the team who are involved with reducing the risks and protecting these very special animals in our shared community.

If you would like to keep up to date with this issue, please follow Cr Sarah Grattan on her social media feeds where she will be following up with this critical issue.

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

In this Council election there’s been a lot of comments about what it means to be “independent”.

Some independents are current or former members of big political parties, others are actively supporting a major party by swapping their 2nd votes with them.

For example, someone claiming to be a "true independent" is a former member of the liberal party and they will give each other their votes. So be careful who you vote for - they might be a blue shark in independents' clothing.

Another candidate claiming to be an independent is a member of the Labor Party - who is giving his votes to Liberals and Greens - so what happened there?

And then we have Mayor Michael Regan – who has no history in politics except for working positively with the big players - and whose group, “Your Northern Beaches Independent Team” vote independently. So, who’s really a true "Independent"?

Michael reinforces that his group registered as a political party purely for election day. “The major parties set up a system that favours them” says Michael. “We’re just locals who want to keep council free of the political fighting the major parties bring. So by registering as a party we levelled the playing field. We pool resources and ideas for election campaigns and get a group name on the ballot paper. But in between elections, we vote as individuals. The public can check this for themselves by looking at the Council meeting minutes - our track record proves our Councillors don’t always vote the same way.”

We have demonstrated our independence time and time again. Look up our differing opinions and voting records for:

  • Dogs on beaches

  • Synthetic fields

  • The Office

  • Bulky Goods Collection

  • The Urban Night Sky

They're just the ones that spring immediately to mind.

What is important as trusted Independents is to engage with the community, and the experts, to be respectful and to get the best outcome for all cohorts in the debate.

Michael likens the “Independent Team” to a national athletics team – “We’re made up of individuals with distinct sprint, marathon and strength skills but we’re united by our common values of protecting the environment, putting the community first in decision making, supporting local businesses and enhancing our quality of life.”

Michael likens the “Independent Team” to a national athletics team – “We’re made up of individuals with distinct sprint, marathon and strength skills but we’re united by our common values of protecting the environment, putting the community first in decision making, supporting local businesses and enhancing our quality of life.”

We don't want big outrage-inducing, top-down-pressured, fear-mongering politics. We need collaborative, expert, community-first people who show leadership and respect to our local community through a level-playing field, which is what we demonstrated through covid.

When Narrabeen ward resident Ruth Robins decided to run for council, she was adamant she wanted to be independent so she reached out to Michael Regan’s group. “I just want the community to have a voice – to have a representative that is answerable only to them; who will put the community’s interests first, not their party bosses” says Ruth.

Michael Gencher, running in Pittwater ward, made similar observations.

“I will make my decisions according to expert advice, community feedback and my own perspectives and values,” said Michael Gencher.

“With this group, I could see there is no block voting. They are not answerable to party bosses in Macquarie Street or Canberra – just to the people of their local area!! This is essential for building and protecting our community and environment.”

Ruth and Michael are offering a fresh independent alternative in Narrabeen and Pittwater wards.

To contact them and any of Your Northern Beaches Independent Team to ask them how they will represent your individual needs, visit

Ruth Robins Narrabeen & Michael Gencher Pittwater are genuine caring locals who have no history with the big aggressors of politics. The same can't be said of other "fake independents". You need experienced locals like these two caring for and looking out for our community.

A similar article was published today in the Northern Beaches Review.

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Did you know that you can reduce your emissions by 30% by switching to a 2nd hand electric vehicle - and they are now more affordable than ever.

"When my mum passed away in 2016, I inherited a small amount of money and decided to invest in a 2nd hand electric vehicle. Mum was always a bit of an environmentalist deep down inside and she's a big part of the reason that I ran for office. So I've proudly owned a 2nd hand Tesla (with the bank!) for the last 5 years and I've never regretted it."

Electric Vehicles are the way of the future and the sooner that governments at all levels make them a more affordable and more practical option the better.

I'm proud that Northern Beaches Council has been leading the way with the provision of charging stations. We have partnered with AusGrid and Jolt for a community "Jolt" EV charger in Mona Vale and there are more planned for Belrose and throughout the beaches.

In the last 12 months, EV ownership has skyrocketed, almost doubling to 23 thousand new registrations, representing the second year in a row where the total number of electric vehicles has almost doubled.

Now, more than ever, Australians are making the switch to EV's and governments need to recognise that shift.

As a Council, it is important we lead by example to drive down carbon emissions and invest in enabling infrastructure that will make it easier for residents to switch to green transport solutions.

Mayor Michael Regan says that “As an owner and driver of an EV, I can personally vouch for the many benefits of this increasingly affordable and popular mode of transport. As for the charging infrastructure, this was very simple to have installed at home and not expensive.”

I have a charger at home that I use every few nights to "fill the tank".

"It is important that Council shows leadership by example in a community and reducing pollution should be important to everyone. I am working with my team to ensure the council fleet (which represents 12% of council's emissions) and the community (transport is 30% of community emissions) can drive down their emissions too," Mayor Regan said.

In terms of affordability, council supports the work of Zero Emissions Sydney North who are sourcing bulk buys of second hand electric vehicles from Europe, where the market is more advanced, to make an entry-level EV cost around $20,000.

At this rate, if you're going to buy a new car, you should consider a second hand EV that drives down emissions by 30% and will let you travel for 3-4 hours without needing a recharge. You can certainly get around everywhere on the beaches in one without using petrol!

Some people say this isn't a Council issue but when Governments fail at other levels, often it is the role of Council to pick up the slack. We are not waiting for leadership at other levels, we are moving ahead and building the infrastructure for a sustainable future.

After the Council elections on 4 December, I look forward to the new Council investigating transitioning the council fleet and working to reduce uptake and range anxiety for EV's for the community. We need to continue to work in partnership with the community towards our target of Net Zero emissions. "


Michael Regan and Sarah Baker are running in the Frenchs Forest Ward this election. Watch the videos below to learn how they will drive down emissions.

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