Lindy Smith, Tweed Heads
The independent review into NSW major projects has found development proposals are being assessed in a manner that is ‘opaque’ in both logic and rationale.
The review was commissioned to address criticism that assessment reports were ‘difficult to understand, inconsistent, lacked technical rigour, insufficient attention to community issues and fail to fully address relevant statutory matters’.
An audit into corruption risks in the state’s planning system is due to be handed down this month. The planning minister has stated another anti-corruption measure would be securing updated local environment plans (LEP) to determine the shape of development in local areas, and ‘the best way to prevent corrupt rezoning is to have strong local strategic plans’.
But regardless of these reports the health minister has made the call to ignore all local and state planning instruments, strategic plans and policies and rezone Cudgen State Significant Farmland to relocate the Tweed Hospital from the population centre to the outskirts of the coastal village of Kingscliff.
No consideration has been given to the social and economic impacts to the Tweed City centre and the rural and coastal villages of Cudgen and Kingscliff and their long-term strategic plans, with the big windfall of the domino effect instead to political allies who have failed in several previous proposals to rezone the farmlands for development.
An urgent independent inquiry into this sudden hospital proposal, which is contrary to records, planning instruments and policies, is needed.
The inquiry also needs to include the sudden sacking of Local Health District board members and their replacement in a very short time frame, which appears not to have allowed for the required regulatory process. Further the new board includes members who could have a potential conflict of interest as they are acquainted with previous proponents of proposals to rezone the Cudgen farmlands.