It was a busy morning outside the Kingscliff TAFE today as Anthony Albanese MP held a doorstop press conference to discuss the Nationals’ plan to impose a new hospital on the community at Cudgen.
The current NSW National/Liberal government have named the Cudgen Plateau near Kingscliff as their preferred site for the new Tweed Valley Hospital
Mr Albanese said that as the Acting Shadow Environment Minister and as the Infrastructure Shadow Minister, he was concerned about planning for the hospital.
‘This is an example of planning gone wrong,’ he said. ‘Here we have prime agricultural land that is so important for our national economy and also for local jobs. Yet they want to convert this into a hospital site.’
He also said the only way that makes sense of the site selection is to look at the knock-on effects of the development. He identified the local pristine wetland area, the importance of the local Kingscliff community as well as the fact that Kingscliff has determinedly kept that three storey limit on development as indicators of what is important to the people of Kingscliff.
‘There’s no doubt in my mind that this is aimed at opening up overdevelopment and changing the very character of Kingscliff,’ he said.
Mr Albanese said the choice of the site is an example of bad planning. ‘The National Party are known for bad planning. They are known for looking after their mates, rather than looking after the community. This is a great example of that, common sense should prevail.
‘I’m here also because up and down the coast I’ve been very concerned as the Tourism Shadow Minister with what’s happening in many of our pristine areas – areas where working families can go for a holiday.’
Mr Alabanse, who attended a gathering of locals at Kingscliff Surf Club last night, said that good planning is consistent with the community and is consistent with the character of that local community.
‘Kingscliff is a very special place. I’ve had the opportunity to come here on many occasions, both for work but also for a holiday. The tourism sector here is very important as well.
‘As Shadow Tourism Minister what I see is that this area provides a unique tourism experience. We don’t want it to compete with the Gold Coast. What you want is different tourism experiences up and down the coast. The Gold Coast provides that high rise experience that people want with the density of restaurants and activity.
‘What people want here is very special and it’s important that it be kept, both for local residents and for visitors to the area.
‘So for reasons of the environment, for reasons of planning, for reasons of tourism, this is the wrong site. They should listen to the community and make sure that they listen to the experts about the site of this new hospital’.