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 1

The NSW Planning Minister is under pressure over Maroubra Beach.

I 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.

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.”