Monthly Archives: June 2017

London Grenfell Tower disaster: Randwick Councillors to debate a local response – 23rd June 2017

Randwick Council will be asked by its Green Councillors to assess the risk of fire to local properties in response to the high-rize fire in London’s Grenfell Tower building.

A motion by Councillor Murray Matson will go to next Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

The SMH recently raised the issue of whether the NSW system of privately hired Accredited Certifiers were up to the job of supervising construction works.

Councillor Matson said today that the community would be expecting local Councils facing development pressures to give reliable assurances that safe construction materials will be used. He said,

“There are issues arising from the Grenfell Tower fire that any Council should be asking itself. For example, the State Government has encouraged  spot rezonings in our Kensington and Kingsford town centres for towers of up to 25 storeys. Will the Board of Fire Commissioners guarantee they can rescue people that high up? Can we on Randwick Council guarantee that burnable cladding is not affixed to the exteriors? Are we prepared to accept that developers will be able to employ their own choice of Accredited Certifiers to monitor the building works?”


That, as a response to the recent high rise fire in London’s Grenfell Tower building:

  1. A report be brought back to Councillors assessing the risk of fire to local properties from past building practices in the LGA;
  2. That an assurance is sought from the State and Federal Governments that present regulatory controls are sufficient to prevent the use of dangerous or substandard construction materials in the LGA;
  3. An appraisal of issues involving the role and performance of NSW Accredited Certifiers in the prevention of building fires be undertaken and reported back to Councillors;
  4. An assessment be conducted into the appropriateness of Council’s standard conditions of consent and the building controls contained in Council’s Development Control Plan; and
  5. Options are brought forward for the drafting of an appropriate motion on these issues to be submitted to the next Local Government NSW Annual Conference later this year.

WestConnex St Peter’s Interchange likely to bring rat-running drivers to Kensington and Kingsford – 22nd June 2017

The Editor
The Southern Courier

Should we be checking out what Clover Moore suggests we do about the WestConnex? Or is it all good here in Eastern Sydney?


One recent Southern Courier facebook comment warns of the “…impending doom caused by the Light Fail…” (Southern Courier, 20-6-2017, “Infamous Nine Ways is no more”)

Light rail in Barcelona. But can it work in Kingsford, Sydney? Why not? source Flicker.

Someone else sent me a photo of a working light rail in Barcelona. I checked via Google Earth and Barcelona still seems to be functioning.

I find it frustrating that so much local fear and loathing is levelled at the CSELR as a non-car solution to road congestion but seemingly none at the coming impact of the WestConnex motorway. The St Peter’s interchange for this god-awful project must push more rat running car drivers through Kensington and Kingsford when completed.

The St Peter’s interchange for this god-awful project must push more rat running car drivers through Kensington and Kingsford when completed.

Next Tuesday night I am putting a motion to Randwick Council calling for Clover Moore’s alternative solution for neutralising the ‘impending doom’ barrelling out of St Peter’s towards us.

I don’t know if I fully agree with Clover’s suggestions for alternative tunnel works and such, but I think that there should at least be some local debate on them.

And I am sure that replacing the Nine-Ways roundabout with traffic lights must be done. One-way or another (pun), CSELR or Westconnex, it is now obsolete.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey to put motion seeking the greening of Clovelly Road – 22nd June 2017

North ward Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey will put the following motion to the Randwick Council meeting of the 27th June 2017.

“That Council invites local community activists, residents and precinct committees to participate in a dialogue via the Greening Randwick Committee on strategies to achieve the possible urban redesign, beautification and greening of sections of Clovelly Road.”

The Greens motion reflects attempts in recent past years by north ward residents to put an alternative face on Clovelly Road. Most notably there was the “Better Block” project of 2014.

Does the Finkel report offer the chance for Australian Councils to foster microgrids of local households into becoming Virtual Power Plants? – 20th June 2017

Letter to the Editor
Southern Courier

Coalition Government backbench melts down over Finkel recommendations but there’s hope at the local NSW Council level if Malcom Turnbull is game.

Reception of last week’s release of the Finkel report into power and energy issues has not gone well. Malcolm Turnbull’s backbench of fossil fuel loyalists have melted down over the suggested Clean Energy Target.

But stepping away from this dismal picture of Federal self-strangulation I did find one Finkel recommendation offering a way forward at the local Council level.


AGL claims that it has formed the “world’s largest residential virtual power Plant (VPP)” out of interconnected residential roof tops in suburban Adelaide

Recommendation 6.9  By mid-2018, the COAG Energy Council should direct the Australian Energy Market Commission to undertake a review of the regulation of individual power systems and microgrids so that these systems can be used where it is efficient to do so while retaining appropriate consumer protections.” (Finkel report blueprint)

A “microgrid” of connected streets of domestic roof top solar arrays is what the Germans call a “Virtual Power Plant”.

If recommendation 6.9 is taken up Randwick Council could organise our residents into local cooperatives capable of selling their own rooftop power back into the NSW electricity grid.

Oh … yeah right … I forgot about Turnbull’s back bench Luddites. But surely he could sneak just one little recommendation past them for one of his own local Council’s?

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson@murraymatson


Kensington Kingsford West Precinct committee secretary Rosemary Mackenzie trashes Randwick Councillor Murray Matson’s integrity via email to Kensington residents – 14th June 2017

14th June 2017

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

The Editor
The Southern Courier

My integrity as a Randwick Councillor has been attacked by Rosemary Mackenzie the secretary of the Kensington Kingsford West Precinct committee and a former Labor staffer for Bob Carr.

I gave a public promise in 2015 (Southern Courier, Dec 1st 2015) that I would not accept payment for serving on Randwick Council’s transition working group. I have kept that promise.

But Mackenzie has now circulated a personal email in Kensington accusing me of receiving significant payment. This is not true and she should have contacted me directly to verify her allegations.

She shows her bias against the Greens by identifying only me by name and party even though there were Labor, Liberal and independent Councillors on the working group.

Precincts are a valuable information link between Council and residents. But this consultation mechanism breaks down when a precinct office holder loses her objectivity and pursues a political vendetta against an elected Councillor.

I call on Mackenzie to resign as precinct secretary as she is not a fit and fair person to hold the position.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson @murraymatson

Philipa Veitch Green Randwick Council candidate for West Ward Calls for Council or Ministerial Action to protect Kensington Public School against possible 7 storey buildings on its boundary – 7th June 2017

Kensington Public School may one day see a 21 meter high building robbing it of winter sun along its western boundary because Randwick Council’s controls presently permit one that high.

Philipa Veitch – Green Randwick Council candidate for West Ward on September 9 2017.

The warning comes from preselected West Ward Greens Council candidate Philipa Veitch.

Randwick Council’s West Ward Green candidate Philipa Veitch wants to preserve winter sun to the Kensington Public school by lowering the permissible building height of 21 meters on the school’s boundary.

Ms Veitch states that such an excessive height control would allow a 7 storey building stretching north along the school’s entire western boundary to be built between Todman Avenue and Bowral Street Kensington.

The Greens candidate warns that:

A future 7 storey building on this site this will block winter sunlight from reaching much of the school grounds after midday. That is not acceptable for a busy urban school on such a small site.

Ms Veitch is calling on both Randwick City Council and the State Planning Minister to work together to amend the area’s main planning instrument so that the height limit is lowered to 9.5 meters.  This is what many other local schools have around their borders – such as South Coogee Public.

Randwick Council is already trying to have the specific problem property lowered from 21 metres to 19 metres under its draft Kensington and Kingsford Planning Strategy. But the Greens candidate thinks that this is still too high.

Another worry is that the Council draft plan might be superseded by a possible private developer’s proposal, making the height limit even higher. This is a real possibility as the NSW Planning Minister has recently supported proposals for 85 metre high tower buildings just 100 meters west at the Todman Avenue/Anzac Parade intersection.


The Kensington Public School is bordered by Bowral Avenue to the north, Doncaster Avenue to the east, and Todman Avenue to the south. It is thus buffered to some degree from adverse development on three of its sides. But not on its western boundary adjacent to the “B2 Local Centre” zoning which runs along nearby Anzac Parade.

Permissible building heights in the section of B2 zoning next to the school are currently set at 21 metres. This could allow for a 7 to 8 story building replacing the current 1 or 2 storey structures currently sitting along the entirety of the School’s western boundary.

The Council’s Draft Kensington and Kingsford Planning Strategy is proposing a stepping down in heights as you travel away from Anzac Parade east along Todman Avenue. There will be 60 metres on Anzac Parade dropping down to first 31 metres and then to 19 metres on the property next to the school (see Figure 157, page 207).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across Australia released a momentous document, the Uluru Statement of the Heart 2nd June 2017

Last week Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across Australia released a momentous document, the Uluru Statement of the Heart, which rejected constitutional recognition in favour of a treaty and structural reform.

A Makarratta Commission is to supervise a process resulting in a constitutionally enshrined place in Parliament, the latter to ensure their voice is heard when making laws.


Referendum Council Logo

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link Is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.