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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Tweed hospital site selection triggers questions in federal parliament

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Local federal MP Justine Elliot has put questions in writing in the federal parliament to the minister for agriculture concerning the NSW state government’s decision to build a new hospital on the protected Cudgen farmlands at Kingscliff.

After the Cudgen site was announced as the site for the new Tweed Valley Hospital in June 2017 significant community backlash lead to health infrastructure revisiting the selection criteria and extending time for consideration of alternative sites

As State Significant farmland the Cudgen Plateau is considered one of the most productive food bowls in northern NSW.

Ms Elliot has asked the minister ‘(a) is he aware that the NSW government does not appear to be considering the concerns of local farmers and the community regarding the suitability of this site, (b) what action will he take to protect the site from rezoning for the proposed development (or any other development), (c) does the Australian government support this plan, (d) does any Commonwealth legislation exist to protect this land from development, (e) is he aware that the NSW government has rejected a planned, approved and shovel ready site for the hospital at Kings Forest in favour of the proposed Cudgen site, and (f) is he aware that the NSW Member for the electoral district of Tweed has been widely criticised for supporting the proposal to use Cudgen as the site for the hospital.’

Political football

While Labor have thrown themselves behind the Kings Forest site this site does not come without issues including impacts on koala populations, flood levels that will require a significant amount of fill to bring the entire site above flood level and lack of local infrastructure.

Alternatively the Greens have been calling on the redevelopment of the current Tweed hospital site. This site also has constraints around site expansion and flood levels.

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  1. If common sense prevailed, both N.S.W & QLD could participate in a ‘shared’ agreement [like that of the Gold Coast Airport] to place for all communities the amenity of the hospital called Tweed/Coolangatta Public Hospital in the location of Border Park https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-28.1735171,153.5229242,994m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en which would serve both state communities and the’already’ infrastructure in place with the population from Tugun to Pottsville and predominantly with the surrounding population being the most densely within the Tweed /Coolangatta townships.
    If both N.S.W. & QLD were to commit to equal expenditure or even 60% N.S.W. and 40% QLD would be a significant saving by both states and with employment much more readily available including housing.
    I see no benefit for the National Party, Labor Party and The Greens positioning of the hospital as it has no sense to build on protected agricultural land which, be assured the community will need that sooner than next term of the politicians and to give a leg-up to Kings Forest is a total cop-out with all the misgivings that have occurred over the space of Labor’s reign in parliament for our state government.
    The Greens could be close to a better solution, however the disruption for many a year will be felt surrounding the existing hospital, let alone parking and noise.
    Both state governments could reconcile an agreement and make to a success story for the people of northern N.S.W. & southern QLD.

  2. Kings Forrest is a massive open area that only needs fill to get it above very rare flood events, and the arbitrary 1 in 10,000 year flood level criteria is an extraordinary requirement. As for impact on koala populations it’s no more problematic than the governments chosen site.

  3. Thank You Echo NetDaily for bringing us this news that our local Federal rep, Justine Elliot, has taken this to Federal Parliament. It is definitely worth pursuing on a national scale because this drought is record-breaking. Particularly in NSW, the gov can compulsorily acquire land to access water if it is deemed in the public interest. Logically then, when crops and animals are dying all over Australia – especially in NSW – from lack of water, it should be equally important if not critically more important to protect the little green belts that we have left near the coastlines – especially the incredibly rare farmlands already declared uniquely viable – protect these farmlands from poor Gov Planners in other dpts who don’t give a toss about primary industries. It is one thing to prioritise an urgent hospital needed in the far north Tweed Shire region of NSW. But not at the expense of rich volcanic soil that still has bores filled with water and is growing vegetables by the minute and supplying thousands of people with food. Because of the geographical constraints of this poorly-chosen site (it is at the base of triangular headland of the Kingscliff Hill beach, hemmed in by the ocean and Cudgen Creek barely barely over away), it is inevitable that the mega-hospital planned will impact on the remaining farmlands starting a destructive domino effects seen on other destroyed farmlands (e.g. the Redlands in Brisbane, Qld).


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