Mike Baird NSW Premier: Greens Councillor Murray Matson says farewell to the NSW wonder boy – 19th January 2017

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed below on the NSW Premiership of Mike Baird are purely the personal opinion of Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson and should not be interpreted as an official Greens NSW party statement. They should be seen as coming from a local Randwick perspective.

IMG_4521 Tell The Govenment - web site

In 2016 Greens Councillor Murray Matson successfully moved Randwick Council to call on the NSW Government to amend the CSELR light Rail route to save trees but the local race course proved to be a bigger stake holder to listen to for Premier Mike Baird.

I believe that Mike Baird re-set a personal standard in administrative integrity as Premier coming in as he did after the Eddi Obied horror of the previous Labor Government and Barry O’farrel’s grange affair. He should get a tick for that.

From an ecological perspective his biggest contribution was the NSW container deposit legislation and I am surprised that he did not get more credit for it. I hope his political colleagues don’t now proceed to diminish his legacy by messing up the implantation of it with a pro-packaging industry model. And we need the next NSW Premier to support a national agreement.

Baird’s biggest mistake was arousing the ire of ecological liberal voters over  the tree losses from the CSELR light rail, Westconnex and his awful  replacement biodiversity legislation. Returning light rail to the eastern suburbs was a great piece of needed infrastructure and he will be remembered for it. But he unnecessarily alienated both the community and we Randwick Councillors over the tree losses.

Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey has lead Randwick Council's efforts to save High Cross Park from a planned light rail interchange.

Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey successfully led Randwick Council’s efforts to save High Cross Park trees from a planned  CSELR light rail interchange.

Randwick Council should have always been the Government’s key stake holder to listen to and not the racecourse over the CSELR’s impact on the eastern suburb’s ecology.

Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey did successfully persuade Baird to save the trees of High Cross Park with the support of Liberal Mayor Scott Nash, but I was unsuccessful in saving the Alison Road trees.

The Westconnex motorway is as much a Labor party fiasco as it is a Liberal one but surely Baird could have stepped in and stopped it?

Along with chain sawed trees in other Council areas the Westconnex’  St Peter’s interchange will channel congestion into our suburbs of Kensington and Kingsford.

From a social justice view my party the Greens totally opposed his cut backs to women’s shelters and TAFE as articulated by Newtown Greens MP Jenny Leong and former Greens Maroubra candidate James Cruz. Baird could also have done more to emulate Coogee MP’s Bruce-Notley Smith’s supportive position on the Safe School’s Program. Bruce should now be called upon to re-open the debate with the next Premier.

From a purely local perspective I wonder what his going will have on Randwick Council’s Kingsford and Town Centres strategic review strategy to stop 25 story spot rezonings puncturing the Anzac Parade skyline? Both Labor and Liberal state government’s have stripped planning authority from local Council’s leaving Councillors dependent on establishing a positive working relationship with whoever is the Planning Minister. Randwick spent $300,000 on the K2K competition (my idea) to come up with the best rezoning strategy to combat spot rezonings. I hope that the new Premier recognises Council’s genuine efforts to establish a dialogue.

And then we have the question of what will happen with the eastern suburbs Council mergers now that Baird is gone? Will they proceed? And if they do, will the present Randwick Councillors be supported in setting the new administrative centre up in Kingsford against Sally Betts’ ambition to move it to Bondi Junction? Ms Betts appears to have incredible clout over local Liberal MP’s Bruce Notley-Smith and Malcom Turnball. Our Randwick residents need a Premier who won’t play favourites.

CONTACT: Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson matson@ihug.com.au @murraymatson

Kingsford to Kensington (K2K) town centre review: Councillor implores Loracn Byrne to meet with him and General Manager – 17th January 2017

17th January 2017

Letter to Editor
Southern Courier

Loracn Byrne’s  (Courier 17th Jan 2017) mistaken belief that Council is proposing 9 storey buildings on “most of Doncaster Avenue and all around Kensington Park” reflects the honest conviction of many Kensington and Kingsford residents.

Loracn Byrne mistakenly believes high rise development for Doncaster Avenue and Kensington Park surronds.

Loracn Byrne mistakenly believes high rise development proposed for Doncaster Avenue and Kensington Park surrounds. (Southern Courier page 26 17-1-2017)

But why? The fact sheet (http://www.goo.gl/LJ3lvd) actually suggests no height changes in these areas. I read it as proposing changes confined to a narrow strip “along the 2.5km Anzac Parade corridor”.  But clearly the wording somehow allows for a misunderstanding that needs clarification!

Loracn seems to believe that the winning K2K design has been uncritically incorporated by Council into the formal rezoning proposal. In fact  K2K’s suggested height changes outside the Anzac Parade strip have not been taken up by Council.

I implore Loracn to contact me (0409-984-587 @murraymatson) so that I can call on the Council’s General Manager to meet with us both and thrash out what Council actually proposes.

I am happy for the Southern Courier and a single representative from the Kensington West Kingsford West precinct committee to also accompany us.

I look forward to Loracn Byrne taking up my invitation.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Congestion will come to Kingsford and Kensington from Westconnex’s St Peters interchange say Randwick Botany Greens -14th January 2017

Greens member for Newtown Jenny Leong said the WestConnex motorway would destroy neighbourhoods, creating more congestion and pollution.” (quoted SMH 11th January 2016)

Jenny Leong St Peters interchange 14-1-2017

Greens MP Jenny Leong protests Westconnex motorway works at Sydney Park site for planned St Peters Interchange. January 2017

Randwick Councillor Murray Matson reiterated Randwick-Botany Greens concerns that the St Peters interchange will funnel more car congestion from the Westconnex into his Council’s suburbs of Kingsford and Kensington.

Councillor Matson said he applauded Jenny Leongs’ protest at the interchange site. He commented:

“It is of great concern to me that the construction of the Westconnex motorway has proceeded with very little debate on how many extra cars will be trying to exit from it into Kingsford and Kensington from the interchange . Cars just don’t vanish from congestion calculations when they leave a motorway.”

Related articles:

Key Randwick Labor Councillors block Greens urgency motion for a joint Council legal action against WestConnex – 12th July 2016

WestConnex impact on Kingsford Smith electorate: Will increased traffic from the St Peters Interchange be the new “ramps” threat to Kensington and Kingsford? – 8th June 2016

Randwick Council motion by Greens Councillor Murray Matson 24th May 2016: “Increased Impacts on Kensington and Kingsford Residents from the Planned StPeters M5 Motorway Interchange.”

Councillor Calls for a Bondi Beach type 24 hour alcohol ban to be placed over Coogee Beach – 29th December 2016


Greens Councillor Murray Matson will submit a motion that Randwick Council will implement a 24 hour alcohol ban on drinking in reserves at Coogee Beach to “bring it into line with nearby Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches”.

The motion is a response to last weekend’s widely condemned Christmas day drinking session. He said today,

“I was alarmed to read media accounts of the concern for possible fatalities held by Coogee Beach life savers on Christmas day. I don’t intend to wait till there is a loss of life. I think that the best approach is to bring Coogee Beach into alignment with the all-day alcohol bans prevailing at the adjacent Waverley Council beaches.”

Councillor Matson says that the current Coogee Beach alcohol prohibitions don’t take into account modern social media dynamics. He said that residents have been emailing him examples of how Facebook was used to promote the Christmas day rave.



COUNCIL MERGER BREAKING NEWS – Woollahra Council loses court appeal against merger with Randwick and Waverley! – 22nd December 2016

Randwick City Council’s General Manager has advised Councillors this afternoon that:

“The NSW Supreme Court of Appeal has today dismissed Woollahra Council’s appeal against the NSW Government’s proposed merger with Randwick and Waverley Councils.”Randwick Town Hall

Woollahra Council has been given until 10 January 2017 to decide whether to seek leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson has stated that the news makes it more imperative that Randwick’s proposal that the Kingsford Market site become the new merged Council administrative centre be advanced.

Return the PCB contaminated Bundock Street site to bush land rather than use it as a CSELR construction depot – 9th December 2016

Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that unused defence force land at Bundock Street in Randwick is unsuitable for use as a construction depot for the CSELR light rail project because of a layer of buried PCB contamination on the site.

He reports that residents have shown him photographic evidence that the PCB layer exists.

The underground layer claimed to be PCB contamination beneath "area 10" proposed as a construction depot for the CSELR light rail project.

The underground soil layer claimed to be PCB contamination lying beneath “area 10” that is proposed as a construction depot for the CSELR light rail project.

He   said,

“The storey that I am told is that Australia’s defence forces discovered that they had a disposal problem over what to do with contaminated electrical transformer liquids. There were similar problems facing Britain and America. It seems that this contaminated liquid is what is now buried under area 10 in the dark layer of soil visible in the photograph.”

Councillor Matson wants the CSELR project to find a different site. He said,

“If you look at it from a precautionary principle perspective there surely must be an alternative site available to the CSELR project that is both more accessible by heavy vehicles and not so clearly dangerous to resident’s health.

He says that residents want the site to be sprayed with native seeds to return it to bush land. He said,

“We should not be using a heavily contaminated site to store construction resources. There is an artificial membrane under the soil holding down contaminants such as PCB’s that I would not like to think of being damaged. Some years ago soil was placed over the membrane and native seeds sprayed over it to return it to natural vegetation. For some reason Defence subsequently cleared the resulting bush land. It was apparently quite distressing to see the homeless bird life perched on fences around the denuded site. Many residents think that the best thing would be for it to be again re-vegetated.”


Will Randwick Council’s draft planning proposal based on the winning K2K urban planning competition be enough to head off twenty five storey towers in the Kensington and Kingsford Town Centres? – 8th December 2016

The following is a media Statement from Greens Councillor Murray Matson made prior to a critical urban planning debate by Randwick City Council onTuesday 13th December 2016.

What do Randwick City Councillors want to be remembered for?

Randwick’s present zoning only allows for between six to seven storey buildings in the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.  But those height restrictions are now under siege from developers.

Next Tuesday night Councillors have a choice.

They might vote for a draft rezoning proposal intended to head off a tide of 25 story high developments presently hitting the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.

Randwick Council has a hard decision to make if it is to prevent 25 storey high rizes in the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.

Randwick Councillors have a hard decision to make if they are to prevent 25 storey high rizes in the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.

The proposal has many environmentally sound measures and will allow the Council to receive 5% of all new dwellings as fordable housing and only modestly increases heights. But it does propose higher buildings at three specific CSELR station sites thus attracting opposition from anti light rail critics.

So the Councillors could instead vote to abandon working on it and let the State Government catch resident ire when towers start mushrooming across the two areas.

Ducking for cover would be understandable for Councillors who may soon not be in office because of Council mergers pushed by the same State Government.

But it is only the present crop of Councillors who have any chance to stop the haphazard redrawing of the Kingsford and Kensington skylines.  Any elected representatives who survive the transition to a post-merger Council are going to have a lot on their plates and maybe subservient to some degree to Government imposed administrators.

The State Government has been trying to use a non-Council body called the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) to permit re-zonings on specific sites. “Ad hoc” or “spot rezoning” are valid descriptive terms for this piece-meal approach to urban planning.

The Council does have one card it can play even though it is the JRPP making the decisions. The majority of the JRPP membership are professional architects who don’t want to be associated with ad hoc development any more than Councillors.

The JRPP has now knocked back five very high planning proposals after Council successfully argued that planning controls should be reviewed first.

On one occasion the Panel wrote back to the State Government on why it was it refusing the latest proposal:

The Panel notes that the council is well advanced in a planning review of the Kingsford and Kensington Town Centres and has programmed the exhibition of a planning proposal for these two precincts for late 2016 to early 2017. Given that the planning proposal will include the subject site, a separate planning proposal for the site will not be necessary and would in fact be confusing.”

The Council is drawing from the winning entry of its K2K urban planning competition as the basis for a proposal that high rize of just 18 storeys be allowed on only three “node” (light rail station) sites across the two town centres.

Resident groups are not happy with this idea and are confusing the Council’s K2K competition with that of the State Government’s policy of randomly allowing 25 storey high rizes.

The organiser of one resident group has vehemently attacked Councillors who proposed the competition in the misguided belief that it had opened the way for the development push. In fact the K2K competition was put together by Councillors after the Government had already started pushing the 25 story proposals to the JRPP.

Thus K2K is an attempt by Councillors to head off a developer driven high rize tide – a necessity that was made clear in a recent media article.

We want to help control development by working on a plan where development complements the streetscape, makes it more uniform so we do not have mega structures.” (Randwick Mayor Noel Souza, Daily Telegraph News Local July 18th 2016)”

For both residents and the Council the choice is quite stark.

If Council does not push on with a coordinated planning policy that proposes that only three sites go to just 18 storeys then the Government will continue to pressure the JRPP into allowing 25 story towers randomly across the Kingsford and Kensington town centres. And with no planning policy the JRPP will stop rejecting them.

One fellow Councillor said to me recently: “I don’t want to have to drive up and down Anzac Parade each looking at 25 storey towers that I think I could have stopped.”

CONTACT: Randwick Greens councillor Murray Matson 0409-984-587 @murraymatson matson@ihug.com.au

Randwick-Botany Greens against rescission motion to remove contamination and truck access clauses from Bundock Street CSELR resolution – 5th December 2016

Randwick Green Councillors will not be supporting the rescission motion submitted against last month’s Council resolution on the use of Defence owned land at Bundock Street, Randiwck.

Councillor Murray Matson says that the rescission motion “is against the health interests of Bundock Street residents” because it seeks to remove a contamination “alert clause” inserted into the resolution by the Greens.

The rescission motion seeks to remove clauses inserted by Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey last month calling for the vehicle entrance to be moved from Bundock Street to Avoca Street and for a contamination expert to verify that contamination won’t be a risk to residents.

Councillor Matson clarified,

“I have been warning Council for years that sections of the Defence force land is contaminated in various ways. Contamination from dust and rain runoff is a real and disturbing issue for Bundock Street residents. That clause should definitely not be deleted.”

Councillor Matson says he does not see how heavy vehicles are going to be able to easily access the site.

“It’s going to be difficult for heavy construction vehicles coming from CSELR construction works to readily access Bundock Street. I don’t think that getting 58 parking spaces in Kingsford is worth the traffic torture of moving heavy vehicles through Rainbow, Avoca or Canberra streets. It should be remembered that CSELR works will already be restricting traffic along High Street.