Australia

Climate key in Olympian's bid for NSW seat

Zali Steggall will make climate change a key issue in her bid to win the federal seat of Warringah. (AAP)

Former prime minister Tony Abbott insists he's unfazed by Olympian Zali Steggall's announcement to contest his seat of Warringah in the federal election.

Climate change will be one of Olympian Zali Steggall's main policies as she contests Tony Abbott's Sydney seat of Warringah in the federal election.

The barrister and former world champion skier on Sunday launched her campaign to run as an independent in the upcoming election in a seat she described as socially progressive and caring.

The 1998 Winter Olympics bronze medallist said Sydney's northern beaches need a voice from "the sensible centre".

She said she supported economic stability and tax cuts from small and medium businesses and was opposed to changing negative gearing, franking credits and capital gains tax.

She pointed to the electorate's overwhelming support for same-sex marriage as an example of the local MP not representing his voters' views.

Ms Steggall will make climate change policy a key issue, one which Mr Abbott dismissed saying locals cared about a northern beaches tunnel, lowered living costs, border security and power prices.

The former prime minister insists he's unfazed about Ms Steggall's announcement, and says he's "getting on with business as usual" representing the electorate.

Ms Steggall was surrounded by supporters at her launch on Sunday with conservationist Tim Flannery and former TV host and Warringah candidate James Mathison among the crowd.

Liberal-turned-independent MP Julia Banks also offered her support, tweeting: "Australia and Warringah needs strong independent, genuine people like you".

Alice Thompson, a former adviser to Malcolm Turnbull, and indigenous activist Susan Moylan-Coombs have also announced they are running as independents in Warringah.

Mr Abbott faced nine opponents at the 2016 election, winning 51.6 per cent of first preferences and a margin of 11 per cent over Labor.

The seat has voted conservative since 1922.

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