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November 27, 2022

Protests continue as Tweed hospital site changes hands

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The area that the Tweed Hospital site is currently being proposed on is currently identified as state-significant farmland. Image supplied.

Tweed mayor Katie Milne has suggested Tweed Council may consider boycotting contractors who work on the new Tweed Hospital site opposite Kingscliff TAFE.

Sale of the site, at 771 Cudgen Rd, Cudgen, to NSW Health went through last week.

Controversy continues to dog the new hospital site after the Tweed Daily News reported the vendors wanted more than $30 million for it and sought a Supreme Court injunction on Friday to prevent the state government compulsorily acquiring the land.

Case thrown out

But Justice Fagan threw out the case on the grounds that it was ‘doomed to fail’ as the government had ‘followed the correct and appropriate processes in making genuine attempts to acquire the land through negotiation with the landowners,’ a spokesperson for NSW Health Infrastructure said.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest (Nationals) announced yesterday (Monday, November 5) that ownership of the site had transferred to the NSW Government on Friday, (November 2) and that preliminary works were set to commence immediately.

‘The start of preliminary works is evidence of the NSW Government’s commitment to delivering this state-of-the-art major referral hospital to meet the urgent health needs of the Tweed-Byron community and the growing demand for these services,’ Mr Provest said in a statement.

100 protesters

Around 100 protesters attempted to block the site on Monday morning to prevent contractors’ vehicles from gaining access.

Cr Milne, who joined the protest, said she would investigate the possibility of boycotting local companies that undertook construction work at the hospital.

Mr Provest, meanwhile said the government was also going to ‘address a number of community concerns that have been raised around the safety and capacity of the surrounding road network, such as: upgrading the Tweed Coast Road/Cudgen Road intersection; and improving the safety and design of the Turnock Street roundabout.

‘Health Infrastructure will work with Tweed Shire Council and other authorities on the design and early delivery of these upgrades. All works will be undertaken with relevant approvals and are not related to the State Significant Development application currently on public exhibition,’ he said.

At time of publication, Mr Provest had not responded to Echonetdaily’s request to confirm the sale price of the land, which is understood to be between $4m and $15m.

Echonetdaily has asked further questions of Mr Provest and Cr Milne but has yet to receive responses.

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  1. Whilst I totally disagree with the location of the new hospital, I am aghast of Mayor Milne’s throwaway suggestion of maybe Tweed Council boycotting any local contractors who may work on the hospital construction.

    Apart from that being probably illegal, it shows total disregard for the many, many local tradespeople who would be denied work on that job. Will she compensate them? A very stupid suggestion on her part.

    She does not deserve to be Mayor if that’s how much care she has re employment for the locals.

    • I fully support your comments Ross.

      The Office of Local Government tells us in its guidelines on tendering: ” Councils should be mindful that they must act in the interests of their residents, ratepayers and the wider community and that, when considering expenditure of public monies, they:
      . Are open, transparent and accountable in their dealings
      . Ensure that their dealings promote fairness and competition, and
      . Obtain best value ”

      Her comment alone creates an environment of damaging uncertainty that might mean locals are reluctant to work on the hospital and so the NSW people do not get the best workers if they happen to be local. As such she is not working in the interests of Tweed residents, ratepayers and the wider community in NSW. Because tenders over $150,000 are controlled by specific guidance and oversight it would be small businesses like tradies that would be targeted by Milne and so threatened by her comments and any action. If Milne were to preclude the best tradie for a Council job solely because they had worked on the hospital, her action would fail on the basis of fairness and competition and on obtaining best value. The obvious beneficiary will be contractors from the Gold Coast, and other parts of SE QLD who are less likely to be interested in work with the Tweed Council.

      This is yet another example of the Green’s flaunting the basic standards of good governance and is at the root of their failures to deliver good local government wherever they get power. The NSW Government should condemn these comments, but like you Ross, Labor should also put aside its preference not to use this site and condemn what is a bullying attack on workers and small businesses.

  2. Cr Katie Milne now wants to complain after the deal is done. The horse has bolted as the decision is done about the Hospital. Where was the mayor before the deal was done?

  3. The contractors would laugh at that useless threat anyway.
    Weren’t the landowners offering up the land to start with?
    Screwed over like the rest of us plebs!

  4. Ironic, 100 lefty protesters (probably bused up from Byron Bay) to support a couple of fat, rich and greedy property developers who are attempting to squeeze money from NSW taxpayers, against a State Government that wants to build a hospital that benefits the whole of the Tweed.
    The mayor of Tweed should hang her head in shame


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