Sophie Underwood is the Founder of the Freycinet Action Network, a community group advocating for the protection of the natural and cultural values of the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast. I have been advocating for the Freycinet area on local planning issues including advocacy, appeals and community engagement for over 25 years. During 2016, I lead the campaign to stop tourism operator RACT from expanding into Freycinet National Park, with profound success. As an individual and founder, I helped coordinate a multi-faceted community engagement, corporate and media campaign. This led to a win-win outcome for the Freycinet National Park, RACT, and for the campaign to protect Tasmania’s parks and reserves from inappropriate tourism development.
I am also the Coordinator of Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania. Informed and motivated by my long experience in the planning space, I have led the mobilisation and coordination of a growing network of over 50 community groups from across Tasmania opposed to proposed Tasmanian planning law changes. This, together with the successful delivery of many significant public events and positive political engagement, sets the scene for planning to be a defining political issue in the 2018 State election. PMAT is campaigning for a strategic, sustainable and integrated planning system which will serve to protect the values that makes Tasmania such a special place to live and visit.