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.’
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.