The political war of words over the building of the new Tweed hospital has ratcheted up further, with the Nationals accusing Labor of ‘delaying tactics’ and Labor saying the government is ‘lying’ about the planned completion date.
Yesterday Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the new $534 million Hospital was ‘at risk of major delays due to a push by the NSW Labor Party to have the project brought to a standstill’.
He said ‘despite extensive community consultation and expert planning, NSW Labor is still insisting the project be delayed and used for election campaign material’.
‘Our community cannot risk delays to this project,’ Mr Provest said.
‘Lives depend on this. The health of our community depends on this.
‘Together we fought for a new hospital, now together we will build a new hospital.
‘There are people in our community crying out for life-saving treatment that doesn’t require them to travel to another state, yet the NSW Labor party think it’s okay to play politics – it is disgraceful,’ he said.’
High rise precedent: ALP
Just hours later, shadow health minister Walt Secord claimed he had found ‘a major discrepancy on the completion and construction dates for Tweed Hospital’ accusing the Nationals of ‘blatantly lying so they can rush through new height limits at Kingscliff’.
Mr Secord accused the Nationals of lying on the actual timeline, saying ‘official Treasury budget papers from June 19 state that the hospital is scheduled to be completed by 2025, but health minister Brad Hazzard and Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest told the community on April 4 that it would be completed by 2022’.
Mr Secord claimed the Nationals were ‘misleading the community on construction dates to rush ahead and to use this hospital as a vehicle to impose high-rise across the coastal villages of Tweed’.
He added the Nationals ‘know that construction on the Kingscliff site cannot begin until next year’.
‘Labor’s choice of a hospital being built at Kings Forest would actually be completed before any building at Kingscliff by the Nationals as the approvals are already in place,’ Mr Secord said.
He added ‘it took the Coalition eight years to build a simple police station so why would anyone believe they could build a high-rise hospital in record time?’
‘On April 4, the Nationals said construction could begin next year after the March 2019 state election, but earlier this week, they said they wanted it to occur by the end of the year.
‘This is impossible. It is very clear, the Nationals are doing everything in their power to get the approvals before the state election so they can lock in the community and do a favour for their mates.’
‘The Nationals should just listen to the community and tell their developer mates to keep their hands off Kingscliff,’ Mr Secord said
More support for Kingscliff site: Nats
But Mr Provest said that during a community engagement process involving some 600 people, ‘around 50 per cent’ supported the Kingscliff site, a further 25 per cent were neutral and the remaining 25 per cent were opposed.
Mr Provest said Labor’s plan ‘has always been to oppose the Kingscliff site regardless of the result of community consultation and independent expert advice’.
‘Let’s be clear on what is happening here: NSW Labor has announced they will build the hospital on a different site, contradicting the results of community feedback, and expert advice – which begs the question, why?’
‘I refuse to stand by and see this project hijacked for political purposes. The time for talk is done, let’s get on with it and build the hospital our community needs and deserves.
‘If the Labor party think they can push this project back in the hope of redirecting the funding to projects that suit their political agenda in the major cities, then they are in for a rude shock,’ Mr Provest said.