Randwick Councillor Murray Matson claims a personal obligation to serve as a counter balance to what will be an overwhelmingly Liberal dominated new eastern suburbs council following the anticipated merger of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra.
Matson has lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) to continue on as a Councillor after the merger following gaining clearance to do so from his local Greens group on Wednesday night.
His submitted EOI reiterates Randwick City Council’s resolved position by a majority of Labor, Liberal, Green and independent Councillors that it prefers to stand alone.
But he says it also “…reflects the reality that the new merged Councils are a coming reality and that the Minister expects serving Councillors to indicate whether they will commit to making these new structures work for the community. I am giving him that commitment on behalf of both my present constituents and those who maybe my coming constituents.”
Councillor Matson further explained his decision by saying today,
“You can choose not to seek to continue as your communities’ Councillor on the principle that the EOI process will selectively curtail that mandate for many other good Councillors across NSW. Or you can take a different perspective and seek to remain a voice for community interests on whatever new Council entity emerges. My fate is now in the Minister’s hands.”
Councillor Matson has appealed to the Minister for Local Government to extend today’s deadline for submission of EOI’s from NSW Councillors. He said,
“The Minister has the pragmatic choice of going for a pool of Liberal leaning Councillors who will only have a mandate to represent one slice of the elector demographic. Or he can bring in some checks and balances by appointing Councillors with other political viewpoints. Extending the deadline or positively re-interpreting negative responses to the criteria questions in the already lodged EOI applications would make the new Councils more representative.”
Councillor Matson listed many local issues now confronting the current Councillors that the new Councillors will inherit. He said,
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get constituents contacting me with concerns about the impact of construction works for the CSELR light rail project. There are a host of localized issues that residents expect Councillors to speak up on such as preserving the Maroubra Sports Club (i.e Malabar Bowling Club site) for the community, opposition to relaxing the liquor prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Center and keeping building height restrictions to 12 metres around Coogee Beach. And there are many others, such as usage issues at the Bondi Pavilion and the Laperouse Chinese Markets.
Then there are specific planning projects that I have initiated such as the international prize for new planning visions for the Kingsford and Kensington Town centre and approaching the Minister for Planning to spot rezone the Newmarket site to lock in height limits while still providing affordable housing for vital service workers such as nurses, police, firemen and university workers.”