Sonja Terpstra MP
State Labor Member for the North-Eastern Metropolitan Region

I entered politics after being elected in the 2018 Victorian State election.

I grew up in New South Wales and attended public schools in the southern and western suburbs of Sydney. I left school in Year 10. During my final school year I attended my local TAFE college at night to learn secretarial skills which helped me gain employment in a clerical capacity. Studying vocational education and training at TAFE opened so many doors for me and so it was a great privilege to be appointed as Victoria’s first TAFE Ambassador in August 2021.

After leaving school, I worked in a number of roles, finally securing a job in local government. Coming from the shop floor in local government I gained employment as an organiser representing workers in the sector.  Later I would also under take various roles within the union movement including women’s officer, industrial officer, assistant and branch secretary.

I have represented workers at the bargaining table, in industrial tribunals and later as a lawyer at local magistrate’s courts.

I subsequently completed an undergraduate degree in Law (LLB) from the University of Technology Sydney graduating in 1997 working and studying part-time. Later on, when my children were young, I completed a masters degree in Law and Conflict Resolution (LLMCF) from La Trobe University graduating in 2007.

I am a strong advocate for equity of access in Public Education. Since being elected in 2018, I have prioritised visiting and serving the interests of public schools in my region. I am also keenly interested to see young school leavers connect with good employment outcomes when they leave school and believe that VET, VCAL and vocational education and training provide excellent pathways to well paid, secure employment where many job opportunities exist today.

First Term
During the 59th Victorian Parliament, I served as Member of the Legislative Council for the Eastern Metropolitan Region.  Some of the areas I advocated for during that term include:

  • Ensuring our local public schools are well resourced and supported;
  • Protecting our environment and ensuring our local waterways are healthy;
  • local jobs and industry development, health, sport and the arts.

Some of the initiatives and projects delivered by the Andrews Labor Government across the Eastern Metropolitan Region during my first term include:

  • $18.2 million for the relocation and development of Croydon Community School;
  • $11.8 million for upgrading the gymnasium, administration area and hydrotherapy pool building at Croydon Special Developmental School;
  • $11.177 million to deliver a new double storey building, as well as renovating existing classroom and the sickbay to Templestowe Heights Primary School;
  • $3.54 million to upgrade and modernise the Arts and Craft Building, as well as undertake essential landscape and sewage works at Warrandyte High School;
  • Secured the level crossing removal at Coolstore Road, Croydon;
  • $300,000 to update the playspace and passive recreation area at McAlpin Reserve in Ringwood North;
  • $300,000 for a major playspace upgrade and expansion wonguim wilam (formerly known as Warrandyte River Reserve);
  • $300,000 for a multi-sports courts and add a new BMX and pump track at Yarrunga Reserve;
  • $60,000 to repair the old milking shed (also known as the Doll’s House) at Heide Museum of Modern Art;
  • $4,980 to repair the 1930’s Warrandyte RSL Cenotaph;
  • Reopening and building the Templestowe Ambulance Station; and
  • Saving and restoring The Old Warrandyte Police House;

Additionally, I served as the Chair of the Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee, which is responsible for inquiring into and reporting on any proposal, matter or thing concerned with the arts, environment, and planning the development, protection and use of land.

During my first term, I oversaw inquiries into the health impacts of air pollution, ecosystem decline, which was the largest inquiry the parliament has ever undertaken, renewable energy and the protections within the Victorian Planning Framework.

I also served as a Member of the Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, the Legal and Social Issues Committee and the Security of Acts and Regulations Committee.

Second Term
During the 60th Victorian Parliament, I serve as Member of the Legislative Council for the North-Eastern Metropolitan Region.

The Andrews Labor Government is removing the congested and dangerous level crossing at Coolstore Road. This will include the building of a new train station at Croydon, creating a new bus interchange and removing the level crossing. I am proud to serve as a Member of the Coolstore Road (Croydon) Level Crossing Removal Consultation Committee.

I am also a member of the Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee, Legislative Council Procedure Committee and the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee.