Lindy Smith,Tweed Heads.
The NSW government in defiance of proper transparency again has only released a summary report on its site selection for a new Tweed hospital.
Again it is biased, with assessment of issues in the negative for other sites but ignores the issues of the selected site. The selected site will require engineered solutions but such solutions were ruled in the negative for other sites. The process has the hallmarks of criteria being set to fit the pre-empted selected site.
Further, Health Infrastructure refused to meet with the community representatives of the Reference Group, or provide requested information.
The July summary report states, ‘existing hospital services provided at the Tweed Hospital will transfer to the new facility once it is completed.’ Re public transport, ‘upgrade/extension of services would be expected over time to service the increased demand from the hospital and major residential development planned to the west and south of Kingscliff’.
The majority of the shire’s ‘over 60’ population lives north of the river, with the population to further increase with three large approved residential development areas. There is no consideration of public transport for the population north of the river.
Re clinical services planning, the government’s website states the new hospital, ‘will operate as part of the public health network with Byron Central Hospital, Murwillumbah District Hospital and Gold Coast Hospital’.
Of note, the minister first announced the Tweed Hospital was to be relocated to the Cudgen farmlands in April, and a document on ‘Tweed Housing Needs’, also dated April, proposes housing on the Tweed Hospital site (someone in the know) – prime real-estate, a developer’s dream.
The latest report and information guarantees the Tweed Hospital will close; the proposed provision of health services for the shire’s community is not in the interests of a forever growing population. There is an opportunity for growing the existing facilities, complemented by private facilities in the urban approved development areas south of the river, being lost in the ongoing fight by political allies driving to rezone the Cudgen farmlands for development.