Green Councillor clashes with Liberal Councillor over commercialisation of a Randwick Council community pocket park in South Coogee pocket park – 25th October 2016

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson wants Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts to retreat from his support of a petition from a local cafe seeking permission for seating in an adjacent pocket park.

A testy exchange of emails between the two East Ward Councillors indicates how the highly populated Coogee area can see clashes between Councillors over pressure from business for the greater commercial use of local parks and open spaces.

Tonight Randwick Council will re-debate a proposal by the Cafe that it be allowed more outdoor seating on the footpath.  In this proposal the Cafe is not pursuing use of the park as it seeks in the petition presented to Council on the 20th of January and re-circulated to fellow Councillors by Council Roberts in a recent meeting of October 2016.


The Greens (supported by Labor Councillor Geoff Stevenson) are seeking deferral of the expansion proposal in order to allow for mediation between the Cafe and neighbours who fear being impacted on by its expansion of operations.

Councillor Matson said after receiving Councillor Roberts reply email today:

“I don’t care who or how the petition seeking seats in the park was tabled or presented to Council. What I do ask is for the Liberal Councillors to withdraw their support for the petition’s request  that the Cafe get permission for seating in one our pocket parks.

I remain surprised that an East Ward Councillor would so clearly indicate his personal support for increased commercialisation of a pocket park in such a densely populated part of Sydney. It sent the wrong message that Randwick is a Council that does not support the retention of open spaces.”

Email from Greens Councillor Murray Matson to Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts to withdraw an unrelated petition circulated by Cr Roberts to Councillors during debate over a development application by the Lion and Buffalo Cafe for increased out foot-path door seating. (25th October 2016)

East Ward Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts
Randwick City Council

Dear fellow east ward Councillor.

I have re-read the petition that you presented to Councillors at the last meeting during the debate on the Lion and Buffalo Café development application.

It is disturbing to see that the Liberal Councillors are supporting the Café request to its’ “customers” that they sign their support if they agree with the following: “2) to seek council permission to have some seating in the community park for members of the community (cnr Malabar Road/Denning Street)”

I am at a complete loss as to understand why a fellow East Ward Councillor would encourage the commercialisation of this small community park in a densely populated urban area such as Coogee. Clearly if the adjacent Café is seeking permission to place seating in the park then it intends that the seating will be for its customers and not for normal community use. I remind you that the café has already on occasion provided towels to its customers to use for makeshift seating in the park.

This petition has not originated as a request from the community but as a proposal from a business and I thus question its use as a true indicator of real community interest. I thus request that at tonight’s meeting you or another member of the Liberal party move a procedural motion that the petition be withdrawn so that Randwick Council is not portrayed as responding to commercial lobbying for access to community open space.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Reply to Greens Councillor Murray Matson from East Ward Liberal Councillor Brendan Roberts received by email 25th October 2016

Dear fellow East Ward Councillor Cr Matson

The said petition was never tabled my me, so I can’t withdraw it.

It was tabled by the applicants as part of their Section 96 submissions on 20 Jan 2016.

Next time I suggest you get your facts right before firing off emails with numerous others CCed on them, it looks unprofessional.

I did refer to the petition at the last meeting, and it certainly did inform the debate regarding the support the cafe had from its local community.

What is actually concerning is your Green ideological opposition to cafes providing an in demand service for their community, even when the cafe is supported by the independent town planners of Council – which is the case here.

Your demand that members of the community are not welcome to enjoy a picnic in a local park is disturbing! Unbelievable, for the record I support locals if they want to have a picnic in any park of the city, your ideological bias is on rabid display Councillor.

The approval as passed by Councillors was as per the recommendation of Council, which was to remain on the concreted part of the path, and not to use the park. Yet you still have used your powers to table a rescission motion against this approval.

I note you moved amendments seeking to cut the number of outdoor seats from the current numbers and also to cease all night time dining; I too am at a loss as to why you are so opposed to a small local business trying to provide a service to their community and jobs for local families.

I make no apologies for the amendments I moved two weeks ago, that were ultimately defeated; like you (and your amendments), I felt they more reflected an appropriate balance of all the competing issues. Unlike you though, I did not prolong the stress for all by tabling a rescission motion after the meeting. Rescission motions generally should be tabled when there’s Councillor absentees or new information. In this case, neither of these exist. The independence of the town planners provided a recommendation that was passed by Councillors. The town planners considered all the issues on behalf of all the stakeholders.

Once again you and The Greens have hijacked a council meeting with your ideologically driven crusade against hard working local small businesses who have the support of the independent town planners via recommendation.

I will be supporting the town planners recommendation tonight, and hopefully let all people associated with this situation move forward in peace as a result.

Regards – Brendan

K2K urban design winner has some good design ideas that Randwick Council could use to block a wave of ad hoc high rises hitting Kensington and Kingsford – 21st October 2016

Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that the winning entry in his K2K competition has gained Randwick Council breathing room to fight off a “blitz of ad hoc twenty-story-plus high rises” pushed for the Kingsford and Kensington town centres.

The State Government has been pressing Councillors to revise their planning instruments after they successfully argued that a string of excessive high rises should each be refused because relevant planning controls hadn’t been revised since the 1990’s.

With the proposals refused the Government made it clear to Randwick that it now expects that a review would be done of the controls.

Councillor Matson responded to the reality of this expectation by setting up the $300,000 prize offered by Council for the best redesign concept for the two Centres.

He states that he is satisfied that the entry by JMD, Hill Thalis + Bennett and Trimble has now won because it bests meshes with Councillors’ opposition to excessive high rises in the two centres. He said,

“Nobody wants the ad hoc twenty story plus building proposals that Council has been fighting off. The JMD, Hill Thalis + Bennett and Trimble concept does not specifically propose 20 story development nor the use of Kokoda Park for an artificial wetland as one of the other entries did.”

Councillor Matson stressed that the winning entry was just a design and the Council was not obliged to use any part of it in the draft planning instrument it was promising the Government it would exhibit for public comment. He said,

“On the contrary JMD suggest a specific range of 4-5 and 5-7 story footprints along with a small number of sites simply suggested in their words as suitable for ‘taller building’. It’s now up to the Councillors to decide if our coming draft local environmental plan (LEP) will be put on exhibition with any of these ideas incorporated. I personally am opposed to excessive high raise in the two centres.”

The winning entry proposes a number of exciting ideas for the town centres including:

  • Widening the footpath on Anzac Parade to create the ‘People’s Boulevard’
  • Six new urban centres and a civic space along Anzac Parade
  • New parklands within walking distance from Anzac Parade
  • Hundreds of large and small trees dotted along the corridor
  • An open watercourse, revealing the hidden stream under Kensington
  • Creating Racecourse Park, next to Royal Randwick

Go here to download a low-res version of the winning entry PDF, 2895.75 KB.

Green Councillor called on to protect frogs in resident maintained South Coogee urban pond now threatened by public housing works -21st October 2016

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson is seeking urgent clarification from Randwick Council that a pond containing five species of frogs will not be destroyed by upgrade work now underway on public housing land

Councillor Matson said that he was contacted on Friday morning by a resident who has been voluntarily tending the pond for many years outside Building 14 in Wauhope Crescent, South Coogee.

He said,

“The resident claimed to have been told by Bridge Housing contractors that there were no conditions under their ‘exempt’ consent specifically protecting the pond. Apparently the works will come within centimetres of the pond and that there are no special precautions being planned to protect the 5 frog species present in such as dust screens.”

Councillor Matson said that he was trying to clarify whether any of the threatened frogs were endangered species and whether Council could insist on the erection of dust and sludge screens.

A resident who maintains a pond for urban frogs thinks that they may be threatened by pending works a public housing estate in South Coogee.

One of five species of frog breeding in a threaten pond in South Coogee

Greens win Randwick Council vote on support for marriage equality legislation following the effective end to the plebiscite option for local MP Malcom Turnball – 13th October 2016

UPDATE:  Last Tuesday Randwick Council supported Greens Councillor Murray Matson’s urgency motion on marriage equality legislation that encouraged the Prime Minister to realign the coalition towards supporting legislation.

March in March 16-3-14 Queers for Justice and Love 024

Greens Councillor Murray Matson’s motion was voted on at last night’s Randwick City Council meeting with support from both Labor and Liberal Councillors.

Councillor Matson and fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey issued the following statement addressed to the Prime Minister who holds the local seat of Wentworth in their Council area.

“The decision by the federal Labor caucus now means that Prime Minster is left with no option but to work with the Greens and Labor to bring in marriage equality on behalf of our Council’s LGBTI community in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.“

“Lifestyle verse resident amenity?” Randwick Council allows expanded operations at the  Lion and Buffalo Café in South Coogee – 13th October 2016

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson states that he has been forced to submit a rescission motion after Randwick Council agreed to allow a local café to expand its operations against the vehement opposition of local residents.

Councillor Matson wants Council to organise a mediation session between objecting residents and the popular Lion and Buffalo Café in South Coogee.

He says that residents are complaining of noise and encroachment onto public spaces and he now wants the café owners to negotiate with them over:

  • The re-establishment of a privacy fence that was in place when the previous vet practice used the site;
  • A restriction on the number of outdoor seating allowed outside the café; and
  • Bringing the café operations into line with what prevailed at other cafes in the area.
reviously fenced off by a visual privacy fence when the site was operated by a vet.

Local neighbours looking at the rear of the Lion and Buffalo Cafe in South Coogee want the full reinstatement of a visual privacy fence that was there when the site was operated by a vet.

He asserts that other Councillors made a mistake when last Tuesday they knocked back a proposal by himself and Labor Councillor Geoff Stevenson that the Café’s development application by the café be deferred to allow mediation between impacted-on residents and the applicants.

A massive petition gathered by the Café was presented by Liberal East Ward Councillor Brendan Roberts who attempted to move amendments against Councillor Matson’s opposition in favouring of greater extensions for the Café. Councillor Matson claims that the petition ”represents the opinion of café customers rather than the complaints of residents immediately impacted on by noise and privacy issue’s around the café”.

Councillor Matson is also critical of a “sophisticated” social media campaign being run by the café to allow it to expand its commercial activities into an adjacent reserve.


The Lion and Buffalo Cafe is mounting a social media campaign to pressure Randwick City Council to allow it to commercially use an adjacent reserve as extension of its currently allowed foot path dining area against the views of immediate neighbours.

Councillor Matson says that he that he always opposed creeping commercialisation of Council reserves and open space in Coogee.

“Supporters of the Lion and Buffalo Café love the lifestyle experience offered by it in that lovely area of Coogee. But they may not realise the stress its operations are causing immediate neighbours. This stress is being exacerbated by its intention to commercially take over the use of the adjacent reserve. Sometimes we love an experience so much that we destroy what we love about it.

Randwick Greens Councillor calls for urgent support for marriage equality legislation following Labor caucus decision to block Prime Minister Malcom Turnball’s plebiscite – 11th October 2016

Dear fellow Randwick Councillors.

I ask for your support for the attached urgent business as I believe it is now important that the Prime Minister be encouraged to realign the Coalition towards supporting marriage equality legislation in line with expectations placed on him by the gay and lesbian community at the last Federal election.

Thank you.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson 0409-984-587

ATTENTION:     Ray Brownlee (General Manager Randwick City Council), all Randwick Councillors

FROM:                Greens Councillor Murray Matson

DATE:                 11th October  2016

SUBJECT:   Request for consideration of Urgent Business at Community Services Committee meeting:  “Advise local MP’s of Council support for marriage equality legislation.”


 Today’s media reports indicate that the Federal Labor caucus has resolved not to support the Prime Minister’s proposed marriage equality plebiscite.


That Council responds to today’s news that the Federal Labor caucus has resolved not to support the Prime Minister’s proposed marriage equality plebiscite by writing to the local federal MP’s for Kingsford-Smith, Sydney and Wentworth advising that Council considers that the only option now possible to achieve equality for all our residents would be to support legislation on behalf of gay and lesbian residents of Sydney’s eastern suburbs.





Malcom Turnball continues Tony Abbott’s offensive against climate change action with successful Labor deal to strip $500 billion from Australian Renewable Energy Agency – 14th September 2016

UPDATE: Bad news! Yesterday local MP for Wentworth and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball has significantly reduced ARENA‘s ability to fund alternative energy schemes.

UPDATED: Labor Caucus maybe shifting towards gutting Australian Renewable Energy Agency budget by $1.5 billion – 12th Sept 2016

“As the Greens and everyone else point out, Labor could have saved ARENA’s entire budget. But it chose not to.” (Source RENEWECONOMY.COM.AU)

Labor Caucus maybe shifting towards gutting Australian Renewable Energy Agency budget by $1.5 billion – 12th Sept 2016

The Greens are holding their own public hearings in Canberra today as Leader Richard Di Natale warns that tomorrow may see the federal Labor caucus decide to support Scott Morrison’s bold move to slash one and half billion from ARENA.

Local Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson is tweeting to highlight Senator Di Natale’s warning about the wobbling ALP caucus.

Scott Morrison may got the Federal Labor caucus wobbling towards reducing ARENA's budget.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson is tweeting to draw attention to the possibility that Liberal Environment Minister Scott Morrison may have got the Federal Labor caucus wobbling towards reducing ARENA’s budget.

LGBTI: Are the schools in the Randwick Council area going to remain safe schools? – 28th August 2016

The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby call for a counter petition against the one seeking to abolish the safe schools program

Most of us went to a school somewhere in the world. Cast you mind back and ask yourself if the Gay and Lesbian kids had a good time or not. Then think about supporting this petition because there is a concerted political effort going on at the moment to wind back protection for LGBTI.

Posted by: Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.