Monthly Archives: December 2015

Urban environmentalists call for Randwick residents to “adopt a tree” ahead of unnecessary tree removals planned for early January along the CSELR light rail line – 31st December 2015

PLEASE SHARE. You are invited to an “adopt a tree” community meeting for 10am, Wednesday, 6 January at the corner of Alison and Darley Roads, Randwick NSW.

The event will draw attention to a contentious changing in the CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) alignment that will force an excessive removal of trees and the Alison Road bike path.

A contentious realignment of the CSELR light rail line by the NSW Government has left Randwick City Council protesting a lack of consultation.

A contentious realignment of the CSELR light rail line by the NSW Government to the north side of Alison Road Randwick has left Randwick City Council protesting a lack of consultation.

Trees being removed in December 2015 along Alison Road to make way for the CSELR Light Rail line.

Trees being removed in December 2015 along Alison Road to make way for the CSELR Light Rail line.

Removal of one group of trees has already started (see right) further east along Alison Road.

TEC and Greens Councillor Murray Matson held a press conference last Monday to call on the NSW Government to work with the local Council to remove the need for the further planned removals.

 

Fit For the Future: Premier Mike Baird announces amalgamation of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils and forces Botany in with Rockdale – 18th December 2015

UPDATE: South Ward of Randwick City Council will not be absorbed into a new Bayside Council with Botany and Rockdale as feared in the posting belowel.


The following comments are the personal views of Greens Councillor Murray Matson on today’s Fit For The Future announcement by the NSW Premier and are intended to be locally relevant to the Randwick Council area of Sydney. They should not be taken to be a statement on Fit For The Future made on behalf of the broader Greens NSW.


Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Councillor Murray Matson.

“Today’s inevitable announcement vindicates the due-diligence approach of a small majority of Randwick Councillors to establish our Transition Committee in timely preparation for what I always knew was a no-choice situation despite personally opposing amalgamation as a bad idea.

Those Councillors who still want to futilely use this committee to oppose the Government’s now proven agenda should realize that this is why they could not be allowed on it. The committee must be perceived not as a battleship but as a tug needed to move the components of the Premier’s decreed Eastern Suburbs Council into position regardless of whether Councillors on it support amalgamation or not.

I agree with the Mayor of Woollahra that forcing it in with Randwick and Waverley Councils is not going to be a good fit and should not have happened.

It is also painful that Botany Council moves into Rockdale to form a new “Bayside Council” as I think its residents would have preferred to go with Randwick and stay ‘eastern suburbs’ if forced to make a choice.

At the time of writing I am very concerned that the Premier may yet allow Randwick’s South Ward to be moved into this new Bayside Council depriving Randwick and Waverley of rates from Port Botany. I understand that a map with the actual boundaries will be available soon.”

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

CBD to South East Light Rail: Transport for New South Wales to push ahead with disputed Alison Road tree removals despite Randwick Council sign protests – 17th December 2015

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has confirmed by media release today that removal of trees along Alison and Wansey Road for the CSELR project will begin on the 28th of December this year.

The two line rail alignment and stop was changed this year from the south side of Alison Road to the north side and a short-extra “third line” segment was added in to help the nearby Racecourse cope with high traffic events.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson wants Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith to intervene to save the imperiled trees by either returning the lines to the south side or by at least removing the extra third line.

Councillor Matson said that there is only weeks left to save the Alison Road trees. He said,

“I call on local Liberal MP for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith to intervene to save the significant trees imperiled by this unacceptable alignment change made by the NSW Government. Bruce, if you can’t reverse the alignment back to the southern side, then at least remove this new and unnecessary third line segment that is going to do most of the tree damage on the north side.”

IMG_4518 Amend the route - web site

To spare significant trees Randwick Council wants the NSW State Government to either return the CSLER route back to the south side of Alison Road or to remove the “third track”.

Many of the Alison road removals are also disputed by Randwick Council as being unnecessary and a breaking of the good faith with which it signed a painfully negotiated development agreement with TfNSW.

The Council has erected signs along Alison Road calling for TfNSW to amend the alignment.

An unfair realignment of the CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) line has brought Randwick Council out with a poster campaign seeking to save the unnecessary lose of trees – 15th December 2015

Randwick Council is busy implementing Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey and Murray Matson’s successful proposal that it protest the moving of the light rail line from the south side of Alison Road to the northern side along Centennial Park.

At what cost will be this unnecessary re-alignment of the CSELR light rail line on Alison Road?

At what cost will be this unnecessary re-alignment of the CSELR light rail line on Alison Road?

Randwick Council regards it has unfair that the re-alignment was implemented by the State Government after the two bodies had signed a painfully negotiated development agreement for the project.

Councillor Matson commented,

“It is now an act of bad faith for the Government to threaten the Alison Road trees by having realigned the rail line after Council had signed the Development Agreement in a spirit of cooperation.”

IMG_4517 Hundreds of trees destroyed - web site

Randwick Council supports the CSELR light rail but knows the cost of the unnecessary change in the Alison Road alignment.

IMG_4518 Amend the route - web site

Randwick City Council emphatically says that the Alison Road alignment of the CSELR should be moved back to the southern side or middle of the road.

IMG_4521 Tell The Govenment - web site

Randwick Council has a political message that it wants the NSW State Government to hear about the alignment change to CSELR.

IMG_4522 Heritage Figs - Heritage Figs

Randwick will lose its recently planted street trees and Centennial Park will lose some substantially older nearby fig trees. Also to go is the Alison Road bike path.

We have a global agreement on climate change in Paris – how cool is that!!! – 13th December 2015

The Randwick-Botany Greens have reacted to the news of the historic Climate Change agreement in Paris by calling for our community to unite behind local response.

We have a global agreement on climate change - how cool is that!!!

We have a global agreement on climate change – how cool is that!!!

James Macdonald, Greens candidate for Kingsord Smith, has called on Randwick and

Botany Councils to rise to the challenge and find ways of reducing Council and community carbon emissions. He said,

“The political page should now change in Australia to reflect what collective governments of the world have agreed on in Paris overnight.

I call on Malcom Turnball to fully turn the Liberal party’s back on the climate change ideology of Tony Abbott.”

The Greens want and end to a reliance on coal mining for energy in Australia.

Mr Macdonald said,

“If the government is truly serous about tackling Climate Change it needs to place an immediate moratorium on constructing and expanding coal mines. It is a fact that catastrophic global warming is unavoidable without most of our fossil fuel reserves staying in the ground.”

James Macdonald and his campaign team are joined by Greens Councillor Murray Matson to celebrate the Paris Climate Change agreement.

James Macdonald and his campaign team are joined by Greens Councillor Murray Matson to celebrate the Paris Climate Change agreement.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that news of the global agreement in Paris has inspired him to seek the support of enough fellow Councillors to allow him to have another try at moving Randwick Council towards divestment from fossil fuels. Councillor Matson said today,

All around the world local communities like Randwick Council are going to have to step up to the mark and find ways to contribute towards reaching the now agreed on reduction target for constraining global temperatures. Your local Councillors can do much more to divest Randwick Council from fossil fuels and it will be a priority for the Greens next year!”

Crunch time for restraining global temperatures as Paris climate change negotiators debate three possible targets – 12th December 2015

UPDATE:

France's President is predicting an agreement on cutting global temperatures.

Follow the Paris Climate Change debate on #ParisAgreement.

After two weeks of intense negotiations the Paris climate conference centre has finally gone quiet.

Behind closed doors negotiators are pouring over the detail of a final international agreement to tackle global warming. I’ve been involved in last minute campaigning with the leaders of Greens Parties from around the world includingc Canada’s Elizabeth May, Sweden’s Deputy PM Asa Romson, New Zealand’s James Shaw and the UK’s Carolyn Lucas.

The stakes are high.

And outside the main negotiations, civil society, environmental NGOs and Indigenous peoples have ramped up their demonstrations in a final, inspiring effort to strengthen the final agreement.

It’s all come down to the final few hours.

Australia’s performance has been underwhelming at best. We lacked leadership and ambition, and continued to protect Big Coal at the expense of the global climate, jobs and our future economic prosperity.

Over the last two weeks, the Turnbull government has abandoned an initiative led by conservative New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to end fossil fuel subsidies, we’ve supported the construction of new coal mines, and refused to rule out the scrapping of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Overall I remain cautiously optimistic. Reference to a future 1.5 degree target remains in the text, as does a minimum $100 billion from 2020 to help developing countries modernise their economies without massively ramping up their emissions.

In these final hours, please keep the pressure on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and reminder her that we #CantEatCoal, and we need to rapidly transition to clean energy to protect our future.

Fingers crossed.

Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale


France’s President is confident that an historic climate change agreement will be reached in Paris.

French President promises agreement

French President confident of agreement on constraining global temperature rises.

As I write climate-change negotiators in Paris are debating three targets for constraining rising global temperatures somewhere relatively safe above ‘above pre-industrial levels’.

  • Option 1: below 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Option 2: ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Option 3: below 1.5 Celsius.

Any Sydney Council with beaches vulnerable to rising ocean levels will obviously be hoping for an agreement on the last option. So will our nations’ island neighours.

Paris Climate Change Conference: Local Greens optimistic that Randwick Council will be inspired to adopt “positive discrimination” investments in favour of non-fossil fuel associated banks – 2nd December 2015

“Australia must stop digging new coal mines” replied the President of the doomed island nation of Kiributa when asked this week in Paris as to what help he needed from us.

The sardonic plea might have been communicated to our local Councillors last night when they debated whether to further divest Randwick Council from coal investments, but it wasn’t.

As the President was participating in the Paris Climate Change Conference, Randwick was voting down a move by Greens Councillors Matson and Shurey to positively discriminate investments by the Council in favour of financial institutions that do not lend to fossil fuel companies.

But the Greens remain upbeat over the loss and are hoping that good news coming out of Paris may inspire a rethink by their fellow Councillors.

March in March 16-3-14 Big Solar 035

Time to divest from coal to save the world’s island nations from inundation.

Councillor Matson said the day after the meeting that “the global recognition is spreading that coal mining is a sunset energy industry”. He elaborated,

“If really inspiring commitments are made in Paris towards achieving genuine cuts in global emissions then I have no doubt that Randwick Councillors will also rise to the challenge and will adopt positive discrimination as our investment policy.”

BACKGROUND:

Randwick City Council Administration and Finance Committee Meeting 1st Dec. 2015

From Councillor Murray Matson

Proposed amendment to Finance Report No. F17/15 – Subject: Investment Policy

I believe that with the Paris Climate Change conference currently underway it is time for local government authorities to be proactive in nudging our society and financial institutions towards greater recognition of the need for action.

The current recommendation suggests the adoption of the following clause (found on page 16)

Fossil Fuel Investment.
Where financial institutions are offering equivalent investment returns with the same credit rating, and the investment fits within the provision of this Investment t Policy, preference  will be give to placing funds with institutions identified as not deal with fossil fuel companies.

PRINTED RECOMMENDATION:

“That the attached Investment Policy be adopted with the addition of the proposed Fossil Fuel Investment clause.”

TEXT OF SUGGESTED GREENS AMENDMENT

“That:

  1. the attached Investment Policy be adopted with the addition of the proposed Fossil Fuel Investment clause; and
  1. a further report be brought back assessing divestment achievable to the Council through weighting non-fossil fuel dealing financial institutions one Standard & Poors credit rating higher when assessed against institutions offering equivalent investment returns.”

 BACKGROUND

Standard & Poors Investment Grade (Source Wikipedia)

  • AAA: An obligor rated ‘AAA’ has extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. ‘AAA’ is the highest issuer credit rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s.
  • AA: An obligor rated ‘AA’ has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest-rated obligors only to a small degree. Includes:
    • AA+: equivalent to Moody’sAa1 (high quality, with very low credit risk, but susceptibility to long-term risks appears somewhat greater)
    • AA: equivalent to Aa2
    • AA-: equivalent to Aa3
  • A: An obligor rated ‘A’ has strong capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.
    • A+: equivalent to A1
    • A: equivalent to A2
  • BBB: An obligor rated ‘BBB’ has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

Non-Investment Grade (also known as speculative-grade)

  • BB: An obligor rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable in the near term than other lower-rated obligors. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties and exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.
  • B: An obligor rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable than the obligors rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments.
  • CCC: An obligor rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.
  • CC: An obligor rated ‘CC’ is currently highly vulnerable.
  • C: highly vulnerable, perhaps in bankruptcy or in arrears but still continuing to pay out on obligations
  • R: An obligor rated ‘R’ is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition. During the pendency of the regulatory supervision, the regulators may have the power to favor one class of obligations over others or pay some obligations and not others.
  • SD: has selectively defaulted on some obligations
  • D: has defaulted on obligations and S&P believ