Reports by the Gold Coast Bulletin that there would be security guards at the next public meeting regarding the site of the Tweed Valley Hospital prompted a scathing response from NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord yesterday.
Secord ‘asked the Berejiklian Government how the use of security guards against protesting local pensioners and farmers was in the “true spirit of respectful community engagement”’.
Echonetdaily has since talked to meeting organiser Penny Hockings who has clarified that the meeting is not ‘connected with any local politicians’ or the Minister for Health’s office in any way.
‘This is a community driven group in support of the Cudgen site and the meeting will probably go ahead in mid-June as Health Infrastructure are going to run a community consultation and we don’t want to interfere with that,’ she said.
Following the uproar over the choice of site for the new Tweed Valley Hospital on prime farmland in Cudgen and what many felt was a lack of transparency in the process, the NSW government announced today it was seeking community feedback.
Health Infrastructure’s Chief Executive, Sam Sangster has stated that ‘The NSW government is inviting the community to provide feedback on the proposed site for the new Tweed Valley Hospital and nominate any alternative sites for consideration.’
According to Health Infrastructure NSW the NSW government has undertaken a comprehensive site selection process, that considered more than 35 potential sites across the region. The results of this process have been made publicly available via a Site Selection Summary Report on the project website.
‘Involving the community in confirming the right site for the Tweed Valley Hospital is the next step in building the future of healthcare for the Tweed Valley region,’ Mr Sangster said.
‘Some members of the local community have raised some concerns about the location of the proposed site, the potential impact on the local farming community and Kingscliff itself.’
‘In recognition of these concerns, the NSW Government has directed Health Infrastructure to undertake a further consultation period of six weeks around the proposed site.
‘During this time, the community is invited to provide detailed feedback on the proposed site; as well as identify any potential alternative sites to be considered by the project team.’
Site Feedback / Alternative Site Nomination Forms will be available on the Tweed Valley Hospital project website or in hard copy at The Tweed Hospital reception and Murwillumbah District Hospital receptions.
Forms and any supporting information are required to be submitted through the Tweed Valley Hospital project email address ([email protected]) or by mail to the project team by no later than 5pm on Thursday June 14 2018. Early submissions are encouraged to enable the timely assessment of submissions.
Security on hand
Ms Hockings confirmed with Echonetdaily that they are planning to have security at the June meeting about the Cudgen hospital site.
‘This is so that speakers can finish their points, there is no heckling and so people feel safe,’ she said.
‘Our intention is to get people there at the meeting who can answer the communities questions including engineers, council representatives to explain the role of council and Geoff Provest to explain the role of state government.
‘I’ve already received a threatening text from someone I don’t know. This is a highly passionate and emotive issue. However, the security is not intended to be over the top.’