The major political parties continue to promise Tweed voters new infrastructure or increased environmental protections as the countdown to the March 28 state election rolls on.
In a recent cavalcade of party leaders and ministers to the Tweed, where the state seat is held by the Nationals’ Geoff Provest but Labor is hopeful of regaining, new policies and commitments have been made in the bid to win over the electorate.
Last Wednesday, deputy premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant, accompanied by health minister Jillian Skinner and Mr Provest, promised a re-elected Baird government would invest $5.9 million to build a new
ambulance station for the fast-growing Tweed Coast township of Pottsville.
This followed the announcement by Labor leader Luke Foley and Labor’s Tweed candidate Ron Goodman that a Labor government if elected would give the Tweed Hospital a massive $211 million upgrade to meet growing demand: without selling off the electricity network.
This trumped the coalition’s promise of a $49 million upgrade to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Greens announced measures to fund new public infrastructure, also without privatisation.
Selling off much of the state’s public electricity network is looming as the biggest single issue at this election, with the coalition wanting the sell-off to fund most of its infrastructure promises, especially in Sydney.
Greens candidate for Tweed, Andrea Vickers said ‘we’re hearing a lot of promises from both major parties, and people are understandably wondering where the money will come from and whether these “promises” will really come through’.
Ms Vickers said ‘they’re also rightly concerned about the Baird government’s plans for privatising the poles and wires’.
Meanwhile, another issue for Tweed Coast voters is the campaign to keep the coastal crown reserve at Kingscliff known as Lot 490 as an open recreation space and wildlife corridor, to which labor this week committed to keeping as a regional park rather than have it leased and developed as a resort or holiday park.
But Labor has admitted it is aware of an Aboriginal land claim over the area and has told Echonetdaily would ‘continue through that process’.
At the Pottsville site for the ambulance-station pledge last week, Mr Grant said his government would begin detailed planning and work on Pottsville ambulance station ‘in the next term if re-elected’.
Also last week, Mr Foley, accompanied by newly-elected Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, told a large crowd of party faithful at Banora Point that Labor would protect Lot 490 ‘forever by bringing it into the public reserve estate as a regional park declared under the provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Act’.
Ms Vickers said the Greens ‘know that renewable energy, especially solar, holds great economic potential for Tweed, but if the Baird government goes ahead with privatisation then the network will be handed over to commercial businesses’.
‘If they do that, than the ability for the public to control the investment as a public asset and control the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy will be lost.
‘The Greens have a plan to preserve the potential of a clean energy future for Tweed and NSW, this plan also includes funding the infrastructure we need for public services like Tweed Hospital, roads and rail, and a new high school for Pottsville,’ she said.
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