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

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”.


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.”


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.


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

Letter to the Editor (Nov. 12th 2013): Light Rail tunnel under Moore Park should be built by non scarring “cut and cover technique”.

November 12th 2013

Raylene Bliss
The Editor
The Southern Courier

Re: “Government back tunnel as part of tram network expansion” (Nov. 12th 2013)

Good on high school student Dexter Gordon’ s for his successful lobbying in favour of the tunnel option for light rail across Moore Park (Southern Courier, print version) as both I and Randwick Council also wanted.

But one clarification to the Courier article – the “unpopular cut and cover” process hasn’t been ruled out by the State Government. Nor did I oppose it as reported.

It won’t be ruled out because the Government will build the tunnel using this easy and cheap construction method. It is actually the unpopular “viaduct” option that has been ruled out because it would have divided the surface of the Park for ever.

My support for a tunnel built by cut and cover was referred to in the background debate to my successful Randwick Council motion of the 25th June 2013 that urged “the Government to incorporate such a tunnel design”.

Randwick City Greens Councillor Murray Matson

National Day of Action on Climate Change- this Sunday Nov. 17th, 11am, Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills, Sydney

National Day of Action on Climage Change. 11am, Sunday 11th Nov. Prince Alfred Park Sydney

Rally. Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills, 11am Sun 17th November

UPDATE: The venue is in Surry Hills – NOT PARRAMATTA

On 17th November, tens of thousands of Australians will gather in every capital city and hundreds of regional towns – to make it clear that Australians want stronger action on climate change. Make sure you RSVP today to turn up the heat on climate action.

Please also invite your friends to the Facebook event



  • 17th November 2013
  • 11:00 am
  • open event – capacity of 20000 guests.


  • Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills, Sydney 2000

From the host

WEAR HOT SUMMER COLOURS. Think red, orange, yellow – shirts, clothes, signs, banners, facepaint, hats, umbrellas and any other creative ideas. Together we will turn up the heat on climate action! Also bring water, hat and sunscreen.

This event is one of 171 events happening all over the country as part of our National Day of Climate Action

November 10th 2013: Randwick Green councillor welcomes news of UNSW/Randwick Light Rail route but says UAPs should not be justified on it.

CBD Kingsford light rail route using a tunnel under Moore Park

The CBD to Kingsford light rail line will cross Moore Park via a tunnel

Long term rail advocate Murray Matson is welcoming today’s media announcement on the light rail route to Randwick but “does not want it linked to further population increases above that already set by Labor when it was in state government”.

The Randwick Greens Councillor said today that the Council’s current population levels already justified light rail regardless of whether the UAPs went ahead.

Returning the trams to Randwick is something that I and the local Greens have supported since 1995 because it was always justified by the prevailing residential densities. The case became stronger after the former Labor Government set a new dwelling target of 8,400 for the Council area without suggesting any real infrastructure improvements.“

He praised the present State Government for continuing with the rail proposal but also criticized it for not warning voters during the last state election that further density increases would be linked in. He said,

The Liberals are keeping their election promise to provide light rail. But imposing additional residents on top of Labor’s increase was never flagged by them when they won the seat of Coogee using this promise.

He urged the State Government to return to the voters to test for a mandate for the UAPs.

The Liberals have no mandate for their UAP’s  – as Tony Abbott might say on a different issue. They should consider going to the next election to seek a mandate for these UAP increased residential densities.”

Councillor Matson urged the Government to supply additional transport, educational and sewerage infrastructure to support the greater number of residents it was proposing. This should, he said, include an extension of the light rail route to Maroubra Junction.

If the Liberals also persist with their second Anzac Parade South UAP then they must provide additional infrastructure for it such as extending the rail line to Maroubra Junction.”

Councillor Matson criticized Labor for selling off local educational and health infrastructure prior to their own density increases. He said,

Labor sold off local schools and Prince Henry Hospital before setting new dwelling targets of 8,400 for the Council area. As a Councillor I know enough to suspect that the sewerage infrastructure may not be up to scratch either. My position is that the Liberals should continue returning light rail as they promised because the present residential density justifies it – and that they should shelve the UAP’s till they have an electoral mandate for increased densities.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson 0409-984-587



Letter to the Editor: Randwick Liberal Councillors not across accepted scientific Climate Change opinion

Australian PM Tony Abbott cuts through on Climate Change debate.

Australian PM Tony Abbott cuts through on Climate Change debate.

November 8th 2013

Raylene Bliss,
The Editor,
The Southern Courier

Dear Editor

The smell of bushfire smoke this morning left me contemplating how the newer Randwick Liberal Councillors are much less open to acknowledging climate change than their longer serving colleagues.

Harry Stavarinos is quoted in the Southern Courier as saying that the “catastrophic predictions need to also stop as this puts more scrutiny on the science that they call climate change.” He wants to shoot the messengers. Disappointingly, other new Liberal Brendon Roberts has not explicitly contradicted Harry.

I like Harry who speaks his mind, but I can’t recall more experienced Liberals such as Ted Seng, Keil Smith and Scott Nash ever openly denying clear scientific evidence in quite the same defiant way.

He is clearly inspired by Tony Abbott who this week sacked a quarter of CSIRO scientists and will not send his Environment Minister to international climate change forums.

Out of sync is the veteran Robert Belleli who recently made a waffling Council speech that left listeners genuinely confused as to whether he was, or was not, declaring himself a climate change denier.

Surely Malcom Turnball type Liberals in West and South Wards can email their two elected representatives telling them that it is embarrassing that they are not more across accepted scientific opinion?

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Randwick Council wants to be green but you need to fill out an online survey in support of continuing the Environmental Levy that funds our award winning “Sustaining Our City Program”

November 2nd 2013

Malabar Road Gross Pollutant Trap

Malabar Road Gross Pollutant Trap was funded by the Environmental Levy.

This is a personal request from local Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson to environmentally concerned residents of Randwick City Council.

Please consider filling out this survey.

The Sustaining Our City Program has been the flagship environmental policy initiative of the local Greens since they first won the mayoralty of Randwick City Council in 2004.

water harvesting

Storm water harvested from Gross Pollutant Traps (GTPs) is providing more than 60 per cent of Randwick Council’s nursery’s irrigation requirements. Many GPTs were funded by the Environmental Levy.

When you are out strolling on Council’s coastal walkway you are probably walking on a section extended under the program.

If you have read about Randwick Council winning international awards for energy or water conservation initiatives then you are seeing the results of the program.

If you help plant Council trees once every year then you are actually participating in the program yourself.

There was a fierce and exciting battle on Council in 2004 to get the program voted in as a positive win for the local environment. And it is with enthusiasm that I am now inviting you to come out over the next few days to help the Greens win it again by filling out a simple online survey by the 7th November deadline.

swimmer Des Renford

New solar heating, energy-saving blankets and solar hot water at the Des Renford Aquatic Centre were funded under the Environmental Levy.

This is how we as local environmentalists can contribute to making our own local Council area greener. It is a classic application of “Think Globally, Act Locally” to demonstrate our custodianship to the small part of the globe that we choose to live in.

Why do we need to do this? Because every five years Randwick Councillors re-vote on whether to continue the special rate levy (the “Environmental Levy”) that funds the program. Without this $1.80 raised each week per average household the scheduled environmental projects would have to be abandoned. But I know that with your support Councillors will see that a significant number of their fellow residents have made online submissions supporting the levy.

Coastal walkway extension

Coastal walkway extensions such as at Mahon Pool  are Environmental Levy funded.

Randwick Council is conducting consultation up to the 7th November to gauge community support for the continuation of the levy and to advise Councillors before they vote. I urge you to visit the Council web site to see what is scheduled to be undertaken across the Council area over the next few years under the Sustaining Our City Program.

I ask that you support me and fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey by filling out the online survey before the 7th November deadline. I then ask that you email or contact your friends by social media urging them to do the same.

What the Randwick Council Environmental Levy has Funded

Between 2009 and 2014 the environmental levy provided a total of $16,315,527 which consisted of $5,825,216 for capital works and $10,490,311 for operational projects.” (Source Randwick City Council fact sheet)

Projects undertaken include:

  • Construction of gross pollutant traps (GPTs) at various coastal locations. GPTs capture street litter and organic material washed from our streets and homes and, as a result, reduce stormwater pollution washing onto our popular beaches.
  • Improving and upgrading sections of the Eastern Beaches Coastal Walkway, at Coogee, South Coogee, Lurline Bay and Yarra Bay.
  • Fencing and revegetation to protect the South Maroubra dunes, one of the last remaining dune systems in the eastern suburbs.
  • Free Sustainable Living Workshops for residents, held each term through the Eastern Suburbs Evening College.
  • Establishing a native garden with community volunteers.
  • Planting hundreds of additional native trees and shrubs in our streets, parks and coastal reserves.
  • New solar heating, energy-saving blankets and solar hot water at the Des Renford Aquatic Centre.
  • Solar hotwater at other high use sites including the Depot and Maroubra beach amenities.
  • Providing environmental management training for more than 100 Council workers.
  • Celebrating World Environment Day and Earth Day with our annual EcoLiving Fair, showcasing practical sustainable living solutions for residents.
  • Sealing footpaths at Matraville, The Spot and Maroubra Beach to reduce the amount of water needed for cleaning.
  • A wide range of community education campaigns.
  • New rainwater tanks, dual flush systems, timer taps and other water conservation measures in facilities in parks and sporting fields.
  • Extensive water-saving projects at Council sites, now saving around 120 million litres of water annually.
  • An innovative sustainability partnership agreement with the University of New South Wales, which will benefit both Council and the University.

Thank you.
Randwick City Greens Councillor Murray Matson



Message from a resident: Notice of Rally re NSW planning legislation proposals at Maroubra Beach tomorrow

Better Planning Network Rally Marourbra Beach 1-11-13 REDUCED ver 2 033

POST RALLY UPDATE. Greens MLC David Shoebridge addresses rally and media at Maroubra Beach

Maroubra Rally - planning reforms Nov 1I am organising a RALLY at Maroubra Beach on Friday November 1st at 11am – all welcome!!

Guest speakers include Mr David Shoebridge MLC and Councillor Murray Matson.

We are protesting against the new currently going through State parliament and the “Anzac Parade South Urban Activation Precinct” imposed on us by the State government: 7km of high rise buildings from Kingsford to La Perouse along Anzac Parade.

Come and join us!!! Please wear Black and Yellow (we have black and yellow “Hazzard tape”) and please share this event on FB.