Greens NSW upper house MLC launches James Macdonald’s campaign in Randwick High Cross Park Park that local Green Councillors helped local residents protect from the CBD to South East Light Rail – 21st May 2016

Greens NSW Transport MP Mehreen Faruqi launched James Macdonald’s second campaign for the federal seat of Kingsford Smith in the local park that Green Councillor Lindsay Shurey’s Randwick Council motion helped save from a planned light rail interchange.

James Macdonald Kingsford Smith Campaign launch in High Cross Park May 2106

Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi (left) and Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey (right) stand next to James Macdonald’s at the launch of his election campaign for Kingsford Smith today 21st May 2016.

Greens candidate James Macdonald

James Macdonald 2016 Greens candidate for Kingsford Smith

Councillor Shurey’s motion initiated a successful search by Council and the State Government for an alternative site for the interchange.

The facilities new agreed on site will be in nearby High Street thus providing an immediate light rail stop outside the adjacent Prince of Wales Hospital.

Randwick Council urged to call on Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith to arrange a ‘fine-tuning’ meeting with light rail Minister to save The Tree of Knowledge and The Kingsford Gate Tree – 17th May 2016

Randwick’s Green Councillors are proposing some “localized fine tuning” in the design of the CBD to South East Light Rail line in order to retain two iconic trees in the Kingsford and Randwick areas.

Can the NSW Government and Randwick Council fine tune a light rail line enough to retain the Tree of Knowledge?

Can the NSW Government and Randwick Council fine tune a light rail line enough to retain the Tree of Knowledge?

The Greens are hoping to enlist the crucial support of Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith to arrange a meeting between the Council’s General Manager and the Minister for Transport. Greens Councillor Murray Matson, a long time light rail supporter, said this week,

“Both the State Government and Randwick Council have been strong advocates for the return of light rail. The Light Rail Agreement between TfNSW and Council was signed in the spirit of trying to reduce tree removals where ever possible. Indeed, the agreement allowed the Council and Government to cooperate in a successful search for an alternative interchange site to save the trees of High Cross Park. And we could potentially repeat that with these two iconic trees individually known as The Tree of Knowledge and The Kingsford Gate Tree. Local MP Bruce Notley-Smith could help immensely by arranging a meeting between Council’s General Manager and the Minister. It’s not big changes that are required, just some localised fine tuning.”

Councillor Matson has put two motions to next Tuesday night’s Randwick Council meeting on the 24th May at 6pm.

The Tree of Knowledge is actually four or five fig threes that have grown together into one.

The Tree of Knowledge is actually four or five fig threes that have grown together into one.

One motion suggests a slight realignment of the curve of the line as it turns from Wansey Road into High Street Randwick. This would allow the bypassing of a group of large fig trees that have uniquely grown together into one conjoined specimen christened the “The Tree of Knowledge” for its proximity to UNSW. Councillor Matson said,

“The proposal is not for a drastic change of route but for a localized fine tuning of the rail line to flatten out the curve as it swings into High Street. The Tree of Knowledge as it is called, is suspected to actually consist of approximately four or five separate fig trees growing into a single fig over the last 150 years or more.”

The second motion deals with a single large fig with an extensive canopy in the median strip just south of the Kingsford roundabout. Councillor Matson supports Kingsford becoming the centre for the soon-to-be merged eastern suburb councils and wants the tree retained for the aesthetic impact it will lend to the new administrative complex. He thinks this tree should be called “The Kingsford Gate Tree” or “The Gate Tree” because it sits at the southern gate to Kingsford.

The Kingsford Gate Tree dominates the Southern entry to Kingsford from its position in the median strip of Anzac Parade.

The Kingsford Gate Tree dominates the Southern entry to Kingsford from its position in the median strip of Anzac Parade.

His motion proposes rezoning the tree’s location to ‘Zone E2 Environmental Conservation’ based on its aesthetic value. He said,

“It is the Government’s intent that Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils merge into an eastern suburbs Council. If that is to be what happens then we Randwick Councillors think that the new administrative centre should be built on the old Kingsford market site where the light rail will pass. We are offing a $300,000 prize for the best new planning concept for the Kingsford and Kensington town centres and I am sure that many contestants will be thinking that The Gate Tree could star at the southern perimeter of their concepts.”

NSW Premier’s 10 cent levy on beverage containers will be welcomed by local NSW Councils struggling with land fill shortages – 9th May 2016

9th May 2016

Letter to the Editor
The Southern Courier

Dear Editor

The Premier’s positive ecological step-forward in bringing in a 10 cent levy on beverage containers will be welcomed by local NSW Councils struggling with land fill shortages. This bold move should be inspiring to the Prime Minister who could respond by bringing in a price on carbon to combat climate change.

Randwick Greens Councillor
Murray Matson

Founder member of the Randwick-Botany Greens Dr John Kaye passes away – 3rd May 2015

The late Dr John Kaye, Greens MLC for NSW.

Dr John Kaye

The Randwick-Botany Greens note with great sadness the passing last night of Greens MLC Dr John Kaye.

As a Greens MLC for NSW John was a compelling and articulate ambassador for the vision of making NSW 100% free of fossil fuel in the generation of power.  It is tragic that he has gone just as global traction may finally be starting to build in this campaign area.

On a local level he had very strong links to the Randwick-Botany Greens prior to entering Parliament . Although living in the Waverley area, John was a founder member of our group back in 1994-95 when he saw the need after the 1993 Federal election to extend a Green profile across the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

He uncomplainingly donated many hours of his time to coming down to Coogee to attend meetings and the fledgling political entity could well have folded without his generous and enthusiastic presence. He latter went on to bring the same self sacrificing energy to his role as a Greens parliamentarian but always found time to return and help our group when we asked him. If you go to the Randwick-Botany Greens facebook page you will see him featured in the main heading image campaigning for a price on carbon.

The Randwick-Botany Greens have a lost a deeply admired representative in the State upper house and NSW has lost a genuinely visionary politician.


Randwick Mayor needs to step in and restore Council’s soiled credibility over Special Rate provisions – 28th April 2016

Letter to the Editor
The Southern Courier
28th April 2016

Dear Editor

Randwick’s Building For Our Community program set the NSW bench mark for how Council’s should conduct community consultation to win Government approval for out of the normal rate increases for badly needed infrastructure projects.

But in Coogee the community was given a promise that alcohol use would not be allowed into a refurbished East Ward Senior Citizens Centre. Council minutes show that then Labor Councillor Anthony Andrews seconded his party’s motion to specifically bar alcohol related activities at the Centre.

But times have changed, or so argues Councillor Andrews, who is now an independent. In 2016 he overturned the same prohibition he put through in 2010 to reassure Coogee residents that their requested support for a special rate increase would not be used to fund yet another local drinking hole.

And East Ward Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts voted with him.  But there is a bigger issue than just that of a Ward Councillor backing the liquor industry against his own Coogee constituents.

These two Councillors have undermined community confidence that we can be trusted not to abuse the special rate levy provisions available for funding supposedly worthy out-of-the-ordinary projects.

The next time there is an identified civil need requiring extra Council funding the State Government will be reminded by Coogee residents that Randwick Councillors do not keep promises about what special rate increases will be used for.

I beseech Labor Mayor Noel D’Souza to step in and restore Randwick Council’s soiled credibility in the eyes of the community and the State Government.

Randwick Council East Ward
Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Maintain the Alcohol Prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre – A Promise is a Promise – 26th April 2016

A Statement by East Ward Greens Councillor Murray Matson of Randwick City Council on why Randwick Councillors should support tonight’s rescission motion about the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre

Randwick City Council maybe about to undermine the credibility of the Community Consultation process it conducted in 2010 that saw a rejection of alcohol at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre.

In 2010 Randwick Council conducted a survey to gauge support for a special rate levy to fund repairs and additions to Council’s community assets under the proposed “Building for our Community Program”. One listed project was the building of a new Community Centre at Neptune Street, Coogee.

General Manager’s report GM7/10 reported that there was little support for Neptune Street but that there was for a refurbishment and extension of the existing East Ward Senior Citizens Centre in Brook Street.

But the community also wanted an alcohol prohibition. Page 17 of the GM’s report quoted the Coogee Precinct Committee as requesting that the Centre be upgraded to cater to “non -alcohol related activities”.

The Coogee Precinct does not support the building of a new Community Centre in Neptune Street and requests that funds be provided to do some basic renovations in order to facilitate shared use of the centrally located Senior Citizens Hall by Council staff and/or the police alongside the regular seniors activities, Precinct activities, preschool, play groups and similar community non -alcohol related activities.” (bold added, 13 April 2010, General Manager’s Report GM7/10 Page 17)

Council minutes from the 13th April meeting show that the then Councillors had read the report and were clearly aware of the Precinct’s non-alcohol response to the consultation around the survey. On the night Councillors White and Andrews moved for both the removal of the Neptune Street proposal and for non-alcohol related community activities at an expanded East Ward Senior Citizens i.e.

“That Council:

 Modify the Buildings for our Communityprogram by:

  1. a)  Removal of the new community centre at Neptune Street Coogee from the program
  1. b)   Inclusion of a rebuild of the Eastward Senior Citizen’s centre in year 4 that will provide a single level building with an expansion of 2 metres to the northern side to accommodate Council’s operational needs with shared usage by police when required and facilities to meet the requirements of existing and new users such as precinct committee, seniors, preschool, play groups and similar non alcohol related community activities. … (bold added, part extract)

Despite this clear resolution, it is now being ingenuously claimed that Council made no explicit promise to the Coogee community that there would be an alcohol prohibition at the Senior Citizens during the exhibition of the Building for Our Community proposal.

This is only true because Randwick City Council never included a Senior Citizens proposal in the original exhibition. The idea only came about as a result of the community feedback from the exhibition – and came with a caveat from the Coogee Community that there was to be no alcohol. But a promise was made to the community by the then Randwick City Councillors who responded to the feedback to the survey by voting for motion seconded by Councillor Andrews that there be a prohibition.

On behalf of East Ward I ask all Randwick Councillors to support tonight’s rescission motion in order to block Councillor Andrews’ attempt to allow alcohol into the East Ward Senior Citizen Centre by back flipping on his own 2010 motion for a prohibition.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Greens Councillor Murray Matson says “My fate is now in the Minister’s hands” as he faces selection process for new merged Council – 15th April 2016

Randwick Councillor Murray Matson claims a personal obligation to serve as a counter balance to what will be an overwhelmingly Liberal dominated new eastern suburbs council following the anticipated merger of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson decides to ask to be in the tent with Council mergers looming.

Matson has lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) to continue on as a Councillor after the merger following gaining clearance to do so from his local Greens group on Wednesday night.

His submitted EOI reiterates Randwick City Council’s resolved position by a majority of Labor, Liberal, Green and independent Councillors that it prefers to stand alone.

But he says it also “…reflects the reality that the new merged Councils are a coming reality and that the Minister expects serving Councillors to indicate whether they will commit to making these new structures work for the community. I am giving him that commitment on behalf of both my present constituents and those who maybe my coming constituents.”

Councillor Matson further explained his decision by saying today,

“You can choose not to seek to continue as your communities’ Councillor on the principle that the EOI process will selectively curtail that mandate for many other good Councillors across NSW. Or you can take a different perspective and seek to remain a voice for community interests on whatever new Council entity emerges. My fate is now in the Minister’s hands.”

Councillor Matson has appealed to the Minister for Local Government to extend today’s deadline for submission of EOI’s from NSW Councillors. He said,

“The Minister has the pragmatic choice of going for a pool of Liberal leaning Councillors who will only have a mandate to represent one slice of the elector demographic. Or he can bring in some checks and balances by appointing Councillors with other political viewpoints. Extending the deadline or positively re-interpreting negative responses to the criteria questions in the already lodged EOI applications would make the new Councils more representative.”

Councillor Matson listed many local issues now confronting the current Councillors that the new Councillors will inherit. He said,

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson inspects the new planter beds at the Coogee Community Garden site.

Murray Matson has used his Randwick Councillor position to support community projects such as the Coogee Community Garden in Dolphin Street.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get constituents contacting me with concerns about the impact of construction works for the CSELR light rail project. There are a host of localized issues that residents expect Councillors to speak up on such as preserving the Maroubra Sports Club (i.e Malabar Bowling Club site) for the community, opposition to relaxing the liquor prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Center and keeping building height restrictions to 12 metres around Coogee Beach. And there are many others, such as usage issues at the Bondi Pavilion and the Laperouse Chinese Markets.

Then there are specific planning projects that I have initiated such as the international prize for new planning visions for the Kingsford and Kensington Town centre and approaching the Minister for Planning to spot rezone the Newmarket site to lock in height limits while still providing affordable housing for vital service workers such as nurses, police, firemen and university workers.”

Randwick Green Councillors to put forward plan to State Government for saving Maroubra Bowling Club site for community use – 10th March 2016

Can a sports club, Randwick Council, the RSL and the NSW State Government come together to save the beach side Maroubra Bowling Club from being sold off for residential development?

Community meeting to save the Maroubra Bowling Club site.
Thursday night, 17th March at 7:30pm
Venue: Maroubra Sports Club!
RSVP on Facebook event page

Can the local Greens, Labor and Liberal factions unite to support this common effort on behalf of the local community?

Will an amalgamation-intent State Government keep Randwick City Councillors in office to pull it all together for their constituents?

On the 22nd of March Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey will put a motion to Randwick Council putting a plan to the State Government on how the site can be saved. She said,

“My motion effectively calls on the State Government to block any attempt by developers to bypass the Council when trying to obtain a rezoning that would allow residential development of the site. It also allows Council to avoid a perceived conflict of interest should we attempt to buy the site ourselves after having intervened to block a rezoning. This is achieved by suggesting that the Government buy the site instead and then appoint Council to run the site via a community member trust in the same way Wylies Baths is presently done.”

James Macdonald, Greens candidate for Kingsford Smith, wants the preservation of the Maroubra Bowling Club site and has called for bipartisan support from all local politicians and candidates.

He like Councillor Shurey, is a Maroubra Beach resident and regards the Club premises as part of local history and culture.

He said,

“I am aware of many exciting ideas for how the Bowling Club site could be used for local community building. There is now a weekend market held on the old greens and talk of a community garden. Others talk of child care services and a long proposed neighbourhood centre for the area. We need bipartisan support from all our local politicians and candidates to get behind this opportunity to build up a community asset at Maroubra Beach.”

Fellow Greens Councillor Murray Matson says the State Government should back up the Council on the issue to the credibility of its own ‘Fit For The Future’ amalgamation process.

He said,

“The State Government is arguing that NSW Councils should be merged to make them ‘fit for the future’. Well, here is a clear example of a Council that is trying to adapt to future community needs by fighting to preserve a local building and accompanying open space against building development pressure. I look forward to Randwick Council receiving a positive response from the State Government.”

Greens Move to Secure Maroubra Bowling Club Site for Community Use – 9th March 2016

Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey will put a motion to the next Randwick City Council meeting urging the State Government to block any attempts by developers to have the Maroubra Bowling Club site rezoned for sale and development.

Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey believes that the Maroubra Bowling Club can be saved for community use.

Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey believes that the Maroubra Bowling Club can be saved for community use.

The motion will also suggest that the Government back up this refusal to change the use of the site by negotiating with the RSL to acquire it for community use. Cr Shurey said,

“I think that the Maroubra Bowling Club site can be owned by the State Government and run by the Council for local use in exactly the same successful way Wylies Baths is run by a trust of community members.”

The Greens have been proactive in trying to save the site for community use. At the last Council meeting fellow Greens Councillor Murray Matson moved that the Government be lobbied to keep current Randwick Councillors in office after forced amalgamations to enable them to save the Bowling Club and other sites.

His resolution stands despite a subsequent Labor Councillor attempt to rescind his original which formed part of the official Council submission to the Boundaries Commission inquiry on the Government’s proposed amalgamation of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils.

Cr Matson said,

“Councillor Shurey’s great motion in response to the community’s clear call for keeping the Bowling Club out of the hands of developers demonstrates why we needed to make a submission designed to retain our Councillors in office after the amalgamation happens instead of leaving such decions to an unelected administrator.”