The gloves have been taken off between Labor’s local federal MP Justine Elliot and Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest following Ms Elliot drawing attention to the fact that the proposed Tweed Hospital site at Cudgen near Kingscliff may need to be referred to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Under the EPBC Act, a proponent must refer a project to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment if it will or is likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance.
Mr Provest has responded by accusing Ms Elliot of disregarding state planning processes in order to assist with her husband’s state election campaign.
Mr Provest said this blatant disregard for the law is completely unacceptable and he is calling for all matters to be referred to authorities for investigation.
‘Ms Elliott has today shown complete contempt for proper processes when it comes to developments, which begs the question why?
‘Never in my time have I seen someone so adamant to avoid proper planning processes including circumnavigating Health Infrastructure, and NSW planning legislation.
‘We are fully aware of the reasons for the Labor Party to push the Kings Forrest site and frankly, this is why the NSW Labor Government was voted out in the first place,’ Mr Provest said.
‘The people of the Tweed are crying out for a new hospital and yet they are constantly faced with the blatant lies from the Labor party who will stop at nothing to delay the project.
‘Labor have a hidden agenda with delaying the building of a new hospital in the Tweed and they will not rest until they have moved the development to land owned by a major Labor Party donor.’
Mr Provest was also critical of Ms Elliot’s advertising campaign on behalf of the NSW Labor party and her husband.
‘Using Commonwealth funds to campaign for her husband would be a serious breach of government policy and many concerns have been raised with my office regarding this, which is why I am asking for the Commonwealth Ombudsman to conduct a full investigation,’ Mr Provest concluded.
Justine Elliot responds
Responding to theses accusations Ms Elliot has told Echonetdailiy that ‘True to form Geoff Provest resorts to lies and smears instead of addressing the issues that are important to locals.
‘Rather than personally attacking me, he should be acting to fix his hospital debacle at Cudgen.
‘I won’t be bullied and mansplained by Geoff Provest and his shonky National Party mates.
‘I stand with our community in fighting to save our state significant Cudgen farmlands while building a better, faster and on budget hospital at Kings Forest.
‘The Kings Forest site is shovel ready with all the necessary approvals, whereas the Cudgen farmland site involves a compulsory acquisition process and zoning changes.
‘My job as a local MP is to stand up for our community and I won’t be silenced.
‘My printing and communications expenditure is legal and within the proper use as defined by the Act and the rules of government.
♦ The office for the Minister for the Environment have told Echonetdaily that they will respond to the questions over the need to refer to the proposed Tweed Hospital site at Cudgen near Kingscliff to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in due course.