Letter to the edior: A Liberal Leader Playing Socialist on Climate Change

29th October 2013

The Editor
The Southern Courier

Dear Editor

I have heard of governments “capitalizing profits and socializing loses” when bailing out private business.

Tony Abbott is now having a try at himself by using our tax revenue to pay private companies to cut carbon emissions. He wants to capitalise pollution and socialise climate change.

Randdwick Greens Councillor
Murray Matson

Hear about “Making NSW 100% renewable” at Coogee’s Politics in the Pub

You are invited to hear Greens MLC John Kaye outline a bold renewable energy future for NSWmaking-NSW-100-percent-renewable

When: Thursday 21st November, 6:30pm

Where: Coogee Legion Ex-Service Club, 200 Arden St Coogee

Greens MLC David Shoebridge warns of “huge step backwards” if State Government rolls out “undemocratic” code assessable development changes

Shoebridge Notley-Smith 25-10-13 061 WEB 2

PHOTO UPDATE – Greens MLC David Shoebridge and Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith put alternative views to today’s protest outside Notley-Smith’s office.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge has criticized Government proposals to adopt “undemocratic” code assessable development changes as part of its’ revamp of planning legislation.

The changes were introduced into Parliament on Tuesday and are yet to be voted on.

“If these changes become law then the rights of ordinary residents to have a say on what development occurs in their local will be greatly reduced.

“Not only will the undemocratic code assessable development be rolled out in the large urban activation precincts in the area, but a pro-developer majority on any council can impose this system on residents across the board.

“History proves that Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils can all be dominated by pro-developer councillors and this Bill would let those councils exclude community participation in most development matters.

“This would be a huge step backwards for people’s rights and produce ever more intense development in Sydney’s east,” Mr Shoebridge said.

The Green MLC’s warning comes one day before the Better Planning Network is scheduled to hold a protest on the various planning changes outside Liberal Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith’s office.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson states that he will be attending the protest outside Bruce Notley-Smith’s office tomorrow and wants the MP to clarify some issues on behalf of local Councillors. He said today,

“Randwick Council is to have two Urban Activation Precincts in its’ area. I thus share David Shoebridge’s concern about the Government’s code assessable development proposals.

“Not only do we look like getting increased heights written into our Council’s local environmental plan via urban activation but now it seems that code assessable development provisions will mean that the Councillors will not be able to oppose these developments once the changes are in place.

“There is a lot that needs clarification by the Government. For instance, will Councillors be even able to impose any sort of moderating conditions on these developments as we can do at present? Will we even get to debate them at a Council meeting?”


“Code Assessable Development – development which meets the standards or performance outcomes in the development guidelines section of a Local Plan cannot be refused development consent (section 4.18). The Regulation is expected to require that a consent authority determine an application for code assessable development within 25 days (where the proposal meets acceptable or alternative outcomes) or within 50 days (where the application is consulted and proposes alternative acceptable outcomes)” (Robert Wilcher, Partner, hunt & hunt Lawyers )

Hats and Climate Change – Randwick Green and Liberal Councillors clash on UN bush fire warning for NSW

witches hat

A sort of climate change hat. Possibly similar to the one Tony Abbott meant.

Last night the scientific credibility of the world’s major climate monitor was questioned by a Randwick Liberal Councillor after the Greens used a UN media quote relating the NSW bush fires to climate change.

The quote came from Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to the media network CNN. She had said;

The World Meteorological Organisation has not established the direct link between this wildfire and climate change yet, but what is absolutely clear is that the science is telling us there are increasing heatwaves in Asia, Europe and Australia” .

Greens Councillor Murray Matson repeated the quote and then went onto refer to the scientific reports of the International Panel on Climate Change. This motivated Liberal Councillor Harry Stavrinos to respond with the assertion that there was no scientific consensus human caused climate change was occurring.

Councillor Matson disagreed by replying that the vast body of the scientific community was actually in agreement that climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

Councillor Stavrinos argument was not bolstered by fellow Liberal Kiel Smith who declared that he also believed that climate change was real.

But today Councillor Stavrinos did gain a sort of ratification for his comments after Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that the UN executive secretarywas speaking through her hat”.

Councillor Matson has responded to the PM’s comment by stating that he himself will stick with the opinion expressed by Ms Figueres. He said today,

Most scientists argue that we need to respond to the current climate change by recognizing that it is caused by humans. The Prime Minister of Australia can no longer swat this reality away. The rhetoric of the election campaign is over and Tony Abbott must now lead the country by producing an effective strategy for reducing carbon emissions and our local Liberals should be calling on him to do so.”


Randwick City Council Environment Levy is a good investment

Make a submission to Randwick Council by the 7th November 2013. Safeguarding our beaches for $1.80 a week per average household is cheap at the price.


Coogee Beach looking south

Dark stormy future for Coogee Beach?

The Editor
The Southern Courier

Dear Editor

Randwick City Council’s environmental levy needs to continue.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that sea levels could rise by 80 centimetres by 2100. Others are saying Bondi Beach will be narrowed by 45 metres as a result.

How much will iconic Coogee Beach and the recently cleaned up Malabar Beach be reduced by? How will surfing be affected at Maroubra Beach and around the world?

There will be an infrastructure cost along with the vanishing metres of sun baking area. Higher sea levels means higher tides and storms breaking against our promenades, walk ways, storm water pipes and grass reserves.

No, we need the levy so that Council retains the funding to research and deal with such issues.

Randwick City Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Success of Malabar Beach water quality clean up based on hard headed negotiations by former Greens Mayor

Storm water pipe that diverted from discharging into Malabar Bay.

A storm water pipe that has been diverted from discharging into Malabar Bay.

The success of the Malabar Beach storm water diversion project (see Southern Courier) was based on some hard headed negotiations in 2010 between former Greens Mayor Murray Matson and Maroubra MP Michael Daley to secure a fair funding deal for Randwick City Council ratepayers.

It is indeed wonderful that the water quality has now improved for swimmers but it must still be remembered that we have just diverted the pollutants further out to sea.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam gone – Australian parliament loses an articulate urban visionary

The frustrating news for dedicated urban planners is that WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has lost his seat.

This is not good for anyone who supports Australian cities being reshaped to serve people and not cars – and I say that as a car owner.

I was lucky to hear him speak once at a conference in Sydney and it is now clear to me that the Australian parliament has lost an articulate urban visionary.

I drew on his public transport proposals for Perth to update my own position on light rail here in the Randwick and Botany Council areas.

It is some comfort that he will still serve as a senator until July next year.

His forced exist highlights the need to abolish the current senate voting system that sees micro parties being able to lodge hidden group voting tickets weeks before polling day that force feed preferences all over the political spectrum to the ignorance and sometimes detriment of the actual voter. They were done away with in the NSW upper house and at the Council level so lets get rid of them in the Senate and restore transparency.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Greens maintain Randwick Council stability in the mayoralty choice but take a “measured step back” from Council consensus in the deputy mayor contest

The planned for Randwick mayoralty change over went smoothly on Tuesday night in accordance with the Labor and Liberal agreement of last year with Liberal Scott Nash being automatically chosen without a vote because he was the only nominee.

But the choice of Deputy Mayor went to a vote with a majority of Councillors opting for the Liberal endorsed independent Anthony Andrews ahead of the Greens Murray Matson.

Councillor Matson only won the support of fellow Green Lindsay Shurey and Labor Councillor Geoff Stevenson.

The decision by the Greens to stand for the Deputy Mayoralty reflects the local group concerns that its environmental and urban planning positions may be losing profile amongst the majority of Councillors.

Councillor Matson explained his candidacy as “a signal of a measured step back” from the Council consensus by the Greens. He said after the election,

The Greens wanted to maintain stability in the mayoral hand over but chose to stand in the Deputy Mayoralty to flag that we have concerns in a number of Council areas. We are not confident that all Councillors fully support maintaining the Greens initiated Sustaining Our City program.  We also want to emphasize that we will not support any undermining of the long term financial plan that we initiated and which has now put the Council in a position to argue against the need to be amalgamated.”

The Greens also find the emerging urban planning scenario in the local area worrying.  Councilor Matson said,

The government’s urban activation program was not flagged by the Liberals during the state election. The Greens note that it could make redundant the exhaustive consultation process that the Council has already gone through in setting heights and residential densities under its relatively new Local Environmental Plan. We believe that the Government should postpone the UAP to get a mandate from the next state election.

The Greens are enthusiastic supporters of the return of light rail but want to strongly emphasis that the Council must remain independent to act to maintain the community’s amenity as the Government builds it.  We think that the Government should clearly disengage the necessity for light rail from its emerging intent to increase residential density via the UAP.  A rail line to UNSW is already justified based on our current residential densities and student numbers.”

He concluded by pointing to the looming amalgamation threat to the Council.

The Greens believe that Randwick has won the argument that it is financially sustainable through the reforms that the Greens and Liberals put into place in 2004 and thus does not need to be amalgamated. We are appalled at the possibility that the Government may force us into a super Council with six other Councils. We want to emphasize to all Councillors that any forced amalgamation that occurs must come with a system for electing Councillors that allows minor party and independent to gain seats. Otherwise the full spectrum of the community voice will be lost.”

Randwick City Council debates “Demand management” verse “supply management” solutions to competition for car parking in Kensington

The following motion was put by a Liberal Councillor to the 17th September meeting of Randwick City Council.


Greens Councillor Murray Matson expressed reservations and argued that a “demand management” solution should be sought instead of the suggested “supply management” strategy of offering more car spaces.

He then moved the following amendment.

That Council refers this motion to the yearly Councillors’ Workshop to allow Councillors to consider it in relation to The Randwick City Plan, Council’s Transport Plan,  the CBD to Kingsford Light Rail Project, the government’s Urban Activation Precincts, the WestConnex motorway proposal and an overview of supply and demand management solutions and parking and congestion problems.”

The above Greens amendment was never voted on because the Liberal Councillor agreed to adopt it as his motion. The Labor Councillors subsequently moved an amendment of their own which. This was voted on and subsequently became the motion, which then became the final resolution as shown below.

NM82/13  Notice of Motion from Cr Stavrinos –  Carparks in West Ward (F2004/06326)

RESOLUTION: (Moore/Garcia) that Council: 

a)     refers this motion to the yearly Councillors’ Workshop to allow Councillors to consider it in relation to The Randwick City Plan, Council’s Transport Plan,  the CBD to Kingsford Light Rail Project, the government’s Urban Activation Precincts, the WestConnex motorway proposal and an overview of supply and demand management solutions and parking and congestion problems.


b)     acknowledges resident, the community and local business concerns regarding the potential loss of parking along Anzac Parade with the loss of commercial, social and community access to the Kensington and Kingsford Town Centres.


c)     writes to the NSW State Government expressing the concerns put forward by both the business and community representatives as a result of the loss of parking access along Anzac Parade.


d)     seeks, from the NSW State Government, solutions to the loss of parking proposed as part of the light rail project.


MOTION: (Stavrinos/Andrews) that Council refers this motion to the yearly Councillors’ Workshop to allow Councillors to consider it in relation to The Randwick City Plan, Council’s Transport Plan,  the CBD to Kingsford Light Rail Project, the government’s Urban Activation Precincts, the WestConnex motorway proposal and an overview of supply and demand management solutions and parking and congestion problems.




To the Precinct Committees of Randwick City Council concerning light rail, urban activation precincts (UAP), Westconnex congestion and demand management solutions to parking competition in Kensington and Kingsford.

light_rail_vehicleGreens Councillor Murray Matson recently made the following observations on urban planning issues in the Randwick City Council area to the Kensington Precinct Committee. They have some relevance to all the precinct committees of the Council area.

The Committee approached Councillor Matson following a media release he issued about the debate around a Councillor motion that might see the Council buying up land in Kensington for a public car park.

The debate quickly turned to related issues and a criticism of light rail.


NSW GOVERNMENT’S URBAN ACTIVATION PRECINCT HEIGHT AND DENSITY INCREASES. My local Greens group, The Randwick-Botany Greens, do not support the as yet un-finalized density or height increases suggested under the Liberal State Government’s UAP proposal.

Our group’s adopted position on local urban density is still that which was expressed in our formal submission made during the Council’s recent redrafting of its Local Environmental Plan well before the UAP was floated. I believe that this present LEP, which went through an exhaustive community consultation process, should not be amended by the Government to allow further dramatic up zonings.

LIGHT RAIL AS NEEDED PUBLIC TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE EASTERN SUBURBS. Randwick Council’s pre-feasibility study on light rail assessed bringing in public transport infrastructure for a population size reflecting  the previous Labor State Governments targets for new dwellings of 8,400 for Randwick City Council. My recollection is that the state election promise made by the Liberals’ to return light rail to Randwick did not come with any announced string that it would be linked to the dramatic further density increases above 8,400 now being flagged under the UAP after the election. This was not transparent by the Liberals. I now urge the Government to disengage light rail from the UAP process which should itself be shelved until the Liberals can win a mandate for further density increases at the next state election.

CARRYING CAPACITY OF LIGHT RAIL VERSE BUSES ALONG ANZAC PARADE. The present passenger numbers along Anzac Parade are around 10,000 per hour at peak (source Randwick pre-feasibility Light Rail study 2011). As I presently understand it, the State Government is proposing a hybrid public transport system for Anzac Parade based on 9,000 being carried by Light Rail and 6,000 being carried by buses.

This net increase in capacity to 15,000 should work from what I have read in the Council’s pre-feasibility study that predated it. I think that it is a misunderstanding to focus on the published target figure of 9,000 for light rail and declare that this is somehow evidence that light rail can not match the present carrying capacity of buses.

My technical understanding of light rail is that it can be pushed above 9,000 relatively easily by the addition of multiple carriages if required. I think that it is a sensible idea to maintain flexibility by retaining the 6,000 capacity of the buses.

RECENT RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL CAR PARKING MOTION. For the further interest of the committee I attach a draft extract from the Council meeting of this week at which Ms Whitehead spoke from the public gallery to Councillor Starvrinos’s motion on public parking.

Please note that during the subsequent debate I offered an amendment to his original motion. Councillors Stavrinos and Andrews (the seconder of the motion) then both accepted my proposed amendment and it thus became their motion without being forced to a vote.

Labor Councillors Moore and Garcia then moved an amendment of their own to add points b, c and d to my original text (which is point a). They won this on a vote and the motion thus became theirs and, when voted on, the final resolution. I was aware that they were going to move this amendment and was intending to support it.

The gist of it all is that the Councillors will now workshop their position on this issue to arrive at an agreed on common understanding which may or may not become a formal Council policy.

INCREASED CAR CONGESTION – WESTCONNEX. Please note my real concerns about the traffic impacts that the WestConnex motorway may cause in Randwick via improvements to the M5 East. Improved freight movements in the Botany area should have been sought from improvements to freight rail and not the addition of another major motorway system.

DEMAND MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TO URBAN PLANNING PROBLEMS. You will note from my amendment to the Council motion that I favour a demand management approach to solving urban issues such as parking competition and road congestion. This is why I support rail improvements to reduce car congestion rather than simply seeking to add further supplies of car space on roads via new motor ways such as the WestConnex.

Likewise I favour reducing competition for car parking via strategies such as resident preferred parking schemes and phone apps rather than buying up valuable land to use for further supplies of car parks. I accept the “induced traffic” theory that improvements to motorways just encourages  a movement by commuters to cars.

Not-with-standing this, my specific view on parking in Kingsford and Kensington is that Council should investigate every available option other than new car parks to maintain parking levels currently available to local shops, businesses and residents. This should include the introduction of angle parking where possible.

Randwick City Greens Councillor Councillor Murray Matson