Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hop scotch and chalk art not to be classified as graffiti in Randwick Council – 30th November 2013

Randwick Council has moved to safe guard chalk street art from amended legislation of this year that could also restrict children’s chalk games and rainbow pedestrian crossings daubed by the LGBTI community.

Randwck Council  attempts to protect creative chalk art from being classified graffiti under expected State legislation.

Randwck Council attempts to protect creative chalk art from being classified graffiti under State legislation.

Last Tuesday Councillors voted that,

“…Council resolves not to classify as graffiti designs, messages, or markings made by the use of non-permanent chalk except for offensive material as classified under the law.”

Greens Councillor Matson who moved the motion noted the removal of the rainbow crossings and later said.

This year political activists have been using chalk as a way of voicing their opinions on a number of issues. The recent ‘rainbow crossings’ were examples of chalking. Six months ago, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay ordered the removal of the Oxford St rainbow crossing in the heart of Sydney’s gay district. This action led to unprecedented numbers of locals chalking rainbow flags on the city’s footpaths in protest.”

Chalk artists have been recent participants in Randwick’s cultural activities such as the yearly Lexington Place busking competition and the Greens want to protect them.

Councillor Matson said,

As I understand it, regulation made under the amended Act could allow for a Council Officer or a Police Officer to prohibit chalking activities, which could include children’s games like hop scotch and the activities of professional entertainers such as the one who drew entertaining images on the bitumen as part of last year’s Randwick busking competition in Lexington Place.

But Randwick City Council will now not be applying any such regulations against chalking as a result of my motion, although the Police still could.

Councillor Matson asserts that famous examples of previous chalk art in Sydney could be made illegal by adoption of regulation under the amended legislation. He said,

Another act of public expression that could now be regarded as illegal would have been the famous chalking by Arthur Stace of the word ‘eternity’ across Sydney from the 1940s to the 1960’s. This act was later commemorated as the graphic in the year 2000 Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks display.”

Background to chalking bans now possible under the amended NSW Graffiti Control Act 2001

Section 6(1) of the Graffiti Control Act 2001 (as amended in 2013) allows a Council to appoint an “authorised person” to enforce the act.

The act under section 3 defines a “graffiti implement” as amongst other things “an implement of a kind prescribed by the regulations“.

Police Officers can still enforce regulations against chalking despite the Randwick City Council resolution not to use Council officers for that purpose.

Contentious NSW Planning Legislation held over to February – 29th November 2013

The Planning Minister announced on Thursday that the passage of the planning reform legislation will be delayed until Parliament resumes at the end of February next year.

The reason he gave is that too many amendments were concenot_happy_Barryded in the Upper House over the last week.

Amendments have included removing code assessable development, retention of affordable housing provisions, and partial repeal of the provision making the size of a new mining project the main consideration for approval.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson called on the Government to “scrap the legislation”. He said

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard should accept that the community has voiced its criticism through the Upper House and that this highly resented piece of legislation should be scrapped.”

The Greens were the only party to refuse to vote for the final version of the amended bill this week citing a range of remaining provisions that made it environmentally weak and unaccountable to the community.

Failed amendments moved by the Greens included:

  • Removing Strategic Compatibility Certificates;
  • Reigning in the State Significant Development provisions so that the Minister can’t impose SSD in breach of local plans and other environmental controls;
  • Subjecting private certifiers to tough anti-corruption measures; and
  • Making Ecologically Sustainable Development  (ESD) the primary objective of the Act.

 

 

 

Planning Bill Passes NSW Upper House – 28th November 2013

The Government’s planning law reforms have passed the state upper house after amendments with only the Greens voting against it.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge describes it as an “historic failure of planning reform“.

Local Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that although amended the legislation will still be a problem for Councils trying to enforce local planning controls such as Randwick’s Local Environmental Plan 2012.

He warns that Strategic Compatibility Certificates will allow overreaching developers to bypass the Council plan. He said this week,

Strategic Compatibility Certificates can now bypass our local planning controls, which is hardly in the spirit of returning planning controls to local Councils.”

He stated that the old Act had obliged developers to come to the Council to justify non conforming applications. He explained.

Up to now applications that were over our height or floor space ratios had to convince us that it would be unreasonable or unnecessary for those limits to be imposed on them. We just knocked one back this week at 2-8 Anzac Parade Kensington that was too big by 283 square metres because they were unable to mount a convincing argument.

He says developers can now bypass Council by appealing to higher level regional plans that could be set up by the Government. He elaborated,

Strategic compatibility certificates can be issued by a regional planning panel or by the NSW Planning Director-General. All it would take is for the Government to set up a regional plan over the Council allowing greater heights and densities than those under our Local Environmental Plan 2012. We would be bypassed!

Recognizing long wall coal mining threat to Sydney Water Catchment Area is a step too far for Randwick City Council – 28th November 2013

Randwick Councillors have declined to support a Greens call for the banning of long wall coal mining in the water catchment areas of Sydney.

Class of water REDUCED

Long wall coal mining may compromise Sydney’s drinking water.

The disappointed mover of the motion, Councillor Murray Matson, blamed the low profile of ‘long wall coal mining’ risks when compared to the high public knowledge about the alternative practice of ‘coal seam gas mining’.

He identified a need for more public awareness of long wall mining by Sydney residents and said after the meeting,

Many of my fellow Councillors were prepared to support a ban on coal seam gas mining, or CSG as it is known, but not were not willing to come at calling for a ban that would have included the different activity of long wall coal mining.

CSG is now a contentious and high profile mining activity in different areas of NSW and my fellow Councillors are right to be critical of it. But it is long wall mining that is being identified as the highest current threat to urban drinking water in the Sydney Water Catchment Area.”

Councillor Matson commends the recent formation of Protect Sydney’s Water, an alliance of more than 50 groups across Sydney Basin working together to protect the water catchments from destructive mining. He said,

I am confident that the new alliance will be able to raise public awareness and debate on the threat to our urban drinking water. And then local Councillors will begin to catch up on the issue. Just give them some time.”

Abandon the planning reform bill says Randwick City Council to the NSW Upper House – 27th November 2013

Last night Randwick Council voted to call on the NSW Government to abandon it’s contentious planning reform bill as debate continues in the State upper house today.

Better Planning Network supporters at a recent rally in Marourba.

Better Planning Network protested the Bill at a recent rally in Marourba.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson has urged the NSW upper house members to take note of the local “grass roots” resolution.

I hope that the NSW upper house takes note of this local resolution from the grass roots in its ongoing debate this week on the outrageous excesses proposed under the Government’s planning reform bill.”

TEXT OF RANDWICK GREENS MOTION CALLING FOR ABANDONMENT OF PLANNING REFORM BILL

That Council:

a) notes its deep concern at the changes proposed to the NSW planning system in the Planning Bill 2013 that will see Council lose more of its planning control via;

  • the imposition of code assessable development;
  • the establishment of sub-regional planning boards;
  • the use of discretionary strategic compatibility certificates; and
  • the expanded reliance on private certifiers;

b) regards as a mistake the failures to enshrine ecologically sustainable development as the principle object of the bill and to address climate change issues;

c) resolves as a matter of urgency to write to the Minister for Planning, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP and the Premier, the Hon Barry O’Farrell MP calling on the NSW government to not proceed with the Bill; and

d) resolves as a matter of urgency to write to the Minister for Planning, the leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary representatives from the Greens, the Shooters & Fishers and the Christian Democrats advising them of this resolution and of Council’s concerns.

Ban needed on “Long Wall Coal” mining as well as “Coal Seam Gas” mining to protect Sydney drinking water

ABC highlights the degradation of Sydney' s water catchments from long wall coal mining.

Sydney’s water catchments have already been damaged by mining.

Councillor Scott Nash
Mayor
Randwick City Council

Dear Mr Mayor

I ask your support for my intention to amend the following motion that I am listed to put to next Tuesday night’s Council meeting away from just a proposed ban on coal seam gas mining in the official Sydney Water Catchment Area to a more effective ban on all mining activity the area to protect Sydney’s drinking water.

That Council:

(a)    Calls on the NSW Government to prohibit coal seam gas mining in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area via the expansion of the Mining SEPP Amendment (3 October 2013) to include the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area as a designated ‘exclusion zone’; and

(b)   Resolves as a matter of urgency to write to the Premier, the Hon Barry O’Farrell, the Minister for Energy & Resources, The Hon. Chris Hartcher, the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon John Robertson, and the respective representatives of the Opposition, the Greens, the Shooters & Fishers Party and the Christian Democrats, expressing the concerns and calls articulated in this motion.”

I have since become very alarmed that just restricting a ban to “coal seam gas mining” (or “CSG”) is not restrictive enough to protect Randwick (and Sydney’s)  drinking water in that it only notes the threat from one form of mining activity. I feel compelled to request your support in amending my motion at the Council meeting.

There is alarming evidence that there has already been irreversible damage done to our water catchments due to current “long wall coal mining” activity by BHP Biliton Coal in what should be a restricted area. I note the following ABC program by Quentin Dempster.

The video reports that this technique involves 300 meter wide underground long chambers separated by very narrow walls, effectively producing a 2 kilometer removal of the coal that will obviously end to produce cracking of the rock up to the surface.

This video shows frightening images of cracked stream bed rock and dried up swamps indicating redirection and loss of water flows in the Sydney catchment area, which is normally regarded as so sensitive that visitors must apply for permits to enter.

With your support, I would like to replace the wording of my proposed prohibition of my motion against “coal seam gas mining” in clause (a) with a simpler more inclusive prohibition on “mining”.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

 

Reply to “Light Rail no solution” (Southern Courier, Nov 19th 2013)

22nd November

The Editor
The Southern Courier

Dear Editor

While Mr Tosti is being overly negative about the return of light rail he is right in that that High Cross Park should not be lost to a bus/light rail interchange. All my fellow Councillors and transport staff seem to agree that the interchange should be moved down into High Street with a stop incorporated to service the hospital. I hope that the Government takes notice.

On the subject of interchanges, the proposed Kingsford one would probably work more effectively from a configuration view point if it was moved south to Marourba Junction. This would reduce pressure on the Kingsford roundabout area and the extra track would not be an astronomically increase in the cost of the project.

Furthermore the Wansey Road section of the track should be diverted through the adjacent Race Course land so that it shadows the road rather than actually runs along it.

Randwick City Greens Councillor
Murray Matson
0409-984-587

Greens Brace as State Government Planning Reform Bill Goes to Upper House – 21st November 2013

Better Planning Network Rally Marourbra Beach REDUCED 1-11-13 016

Greens MLC David Shoebridge addresses a recent rally about the planning reform bill at Maroubra Beach.

Yesterday Greens MLC David Shoebridge advised by twitter that debate had started on the Government’s contentious planning reforms bill in the upper house.

Amendments are expected to be debated next week.

On a local level, Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson will put a motion to next week’s Council meeting calling for the Bill to be abandoned by the Government.

He hopes that it will send a message to the upper house from Randwick residents in time for next week’s continuation of the debate.

Councillor Matson says that Council’s will lose more of their planning controls via;

  •  the imposition of code assessable development;
  • the establishment of sub-regional planning boards;
  • the use of discretionary strategic compatibility certificates; and
  • the expanded reliance on private certifiers;

He elaborated,

“This is a bill for advancing the rubber stamping of planning applications.”

Councillor Matson is also disappointed that the current legislation’s strong objective emphasising ecological considerations will be dropped and said,

The bill is back peddling away from giving proper significance to ecological assessment in planning”.

One clause of his motion urges the Council to declare that it

“…regards as a mistake the failures to enshrine ecologically sustainable development as the principle object of the bill and to address climate change issues”.

TEXT OF RANDWICK COUNCIL GREENS MOTION ON NSW GOVERNMENT PLANNING REFORM BILL 2013

Protect Randwick’s Drinking Water by stopping Coal Seam Gas (CSG) activity in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area – Nov 18th 2013

Greens Councillor Murray Matson is putting a motion to next week’s Randwick Council meeting drawing attention to the threat posed to resident’s drinking water by coal seam gas mining and exploration in the Sydney catchments.

He has also praised the creation of a new umbrella group of anti CSG groups in Sydney. He said,

Politicians at both the State and Council level should recognise and support the newly formed ‘Protect Sydney’s Water’ group, which is the alliance of more than 50 groups across Sydney Basin working together to protect the water catchments from destructive mining.”

Ms Isabel McIntosh recently had an article in the South Sydney Herald this month covering the creation of the new umbrella group.

She says,

“It’s an upside down world when mining companies get an open door to go into pristine wilderness areas to crack creek beds, damage underground aquifers and destroy swamps.

Ms McIntosh also drew attention to a video that shows “what’s happening in Sydney Drinking Water Catchments, every day, causing subsidence, damaging swamps, draining creeks, polluting rivers, cracking creeks.”

TEXT OF RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL GREENS MOTION ON CSG

That Council:

(a)    Calls on the NSW Government to prohibit coal seam gas mining in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area via the expansion of the Mining SEPP Amendment (3 October 2013) to include the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area as a designated ‘exclusion zone’; and

(b)   Resolves as a matter of urgency to write to the Premier, the Hon Barry O’Farrell, the Minister for Energy & Resources, The Hon. Chris Hartcher, the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon John Robertson, and the respective representatives of the Opposition, the Greens, the Shooters & Fishers Party and the Christian Democrats, expressing the concerns and calls articulated in this motion.

 

Randwick Greens Councillors Lindsay Shurey and Murray Matson attended today’s National Day of Action on Climate Change Rally in Sydney

UPDATE: Councillor Matson is following up on yesterday’s rally by putting the following motion to the next week’s Randwick Council meeting.

That Council as a matter of urgency writes to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the federal opposition and all parties in the Senate advocating the retention of a market based system for setting a price on carbon.

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It was a wet day in Sydney for our National Day of Action on Climate Change. A number of local Randwick-Botany Greens members made the trek into Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills to hear the speakers through the rain.

Randwick Green Councillors Shurey and Matson at Climate Change Rally

Randwick Green Councillors Shurey and Matson at Climate Change Rally