Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith MP has gained a commitment from the NSW Health Minister during Question Time that he will consider keeping the old Byron hospital site in community hands and enable Byron Shire Council to lease the site for a peppercorn rent.
‘Given that there is no need for the site to be sold off to developers in order to pay for the remediation of the wold Mullumbimby Hospital site, there is no need for this valuable community asset to be sold off to the highest bidder,’ Ms Smith said.
‘This is a site that has historically supported the community through both frontline medical and allied health services and community meeting spaces. It is perfectly appropriate that it remain so and I am confident from the Minister’s response to me that he agrees that this would be the best outcome for the Byron shire community,’ she added.
‘The community as a whole deserves the opportunity to pitch ideas to Byron Shire Council and I know that Mayor Simon Richardson would be looking at models for the site that truly do serve the interests of the community.’
‘The Health Minister gave an undertaking that he and Property NSW would look at opportunities for the site and that it would not be sold prior to looking at what the community is proposing.’
‘I call on the NSW government to keep the old Byron Hospital site in public ownership and to let Byron Shire Council lease it at a peppercorn rate, rather than having to raise money to buy back what already belongs to the Byron community,’ Ms Smith said.