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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

New Tweed Valley hospital site becomes political football

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Labor’s shadow minister for primary industries Mick Veitch Mick Veitch and Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot. Photo supplied.

The question of the new Tweed Valley hospital site is a complex one with emotions in the community running high over the benefits and detriments of the various sites that have been investigated. Labor is throwing its weight behind the Kings Forest site highlighting the importance of the state significant farmlands at the Kingscliff Cudgen site however, the Kings Forest site does not come without its own issues.

Labor’s shadow minister for primary industries Mick Veitch has stated that ‘There is a clear choice at the next election; a vote for Labor’s Craig Elliot is a vote to build a better, faster and on budget new hospital at Kings Forest while protecting local state significant farmland, whereas, a vote for Geoff Provest is a vote for a seven storey hospital to be imposed on Cudgen along with Gold Coast style traffic gridlock, congestion and highrise overdevelopment.’

Kings Forest was originally ruled out by NSW Health Infrastructure ‘on seven grounds, including that 70 per cent of it was flood prone, 30 per cent was adjacent to a former tip site that had the potential to release toxic gases and the entire site was in the middle of a koala corridor.’ 

According to the site selection report issued in July 2018 the site has only 5.8ha above the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) that would mean ‘the site is  proposed to be filled in the order of 0.5m–1.5m’ to bring it above the PMF.

Koala population and potential Wallum Frog habitat will also be impacted with advice stating that ‘this may present a serious and irreversible  impact under the Biodiversity Conservation Act (State legislation).’

Reusing the current site

One suggestion that a councillor asked the health infrastructure group to consider was the reuse of the current site.

A health infrastructure spokesperson told Echonetdaily that ‘For comparison purposes, the project team also undertook a design study on a “brownfield option”, which considered acquiring land around the existing Tweed Hospital; building the new hospital; decanting services and demolishing the existing buildings; and then using the existing site for future expansion and complementary uses. This was not a shortlisted option and the comparison study reaffirmed that redevelopment around the existing hospital site was not a viable proposition.’

Some of the reasons listed in the report are the increased cost,  lack of available space to expand and building critical hospital infrastructure above the PMF.

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  1. I volunteer once a week at the Tweed Hospital, we do need a new hospital BUT NOT on food producing prime agricultural land of State significance. We CAN’T EAT CONCRETE even with 21st Century health care! People power means we have the ultimate say on 23 March 2019.

  2. I won’t be voting for Labor for the first time ever if they run with this policy at the next election. I’m perfectly happy with the Cudgen site or even the current site if it can be made to work but I’m dead against Kings Forest or anywhere any further south than Cudgen.

  3. Why on earth are Liberal/Nat and Labor making this a political issue when the focus should be on the best possible site? There have been viable plans to upgrade the Tweed hospital for years, desperately seeking funding… all of a sudden money is available, but not for the existing and best site.
    The problem is geographical. I cannot understand why Labor and Lib/Nats are so set on totally unsuitable sites.
    Foolish and vexing!

  4. It’s no wonder people have lost confidence in our parliamentary representatives and the democratic process. It’s hard to know what to believe. Last year there were viable plans to extend and upgrade Tweed Hospital, but now this option is “too costly”. Where do they get their figures from? It appears that a decision has been made and then documents written to back it up. Could the community have transparency of process?


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