Tweed MP Geoff Provest (Nationals) has called for the Shire’s mayor, Katie Milne (Greens), to resign over comments she made earlier in the week that the council could consider boycotting contractors who worked at the contentious Kingscliff site of the new Tweed hospital.
Cr Milne has responded that neither she nor the council were considering a boycott at this stage.
But she has added that ‘sanctions are… an accepted part of international diplomacy’.
Her initial comments came amid the heat of a confrontation on Monday (November 5) when she was among a group of activists that formed a blockade around the newly acquired hospital site.
She added that council would consider calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the process of establishing the new hospital site.
‘Bypassing all approvals processes the state government [on Monday] made their way through the dozen, mostly women protestors who had stayed behind to keep guard after the construction trucks had not turned up that morning’ Cr Milne said.
‘One woman was prepared to stand her ground and be arrested, and the police who were great were advised of this. There was no stopping those trucks on that day though.’
‘I have put a motion to the next council meeting calling for a parliamentary inquiry into this whole process. Sadly, it can be the case that some decisions just don’t make sense and, in such cases, it is sensible for these decisions to be questioned.
‘I am also calling for the release of any diagrams of the footprint of the expanded Tweed Heads option into the civic precinct.
‘I commend the actions of protestors. In any democracy it is vital the community holds the government to account. Inquiries, protests, boycotts and blockades are a necessary part of the community’s ability to make governments accountable.
‘Sanctions are also an accepted part of international diplomacy.
‘The Relocate organisers yesterday withdrew their request for support from council for a boycott and blockade, so a debate on this at council will not proceed at this stage,’ she said.
Community outrage: Provest
Mr Provest said he ‘share[d] the community’s outrage over calls from Tweed Shire mayor Katie Milne to boycott local businesses who are engaged to work on the new Tweed Hospital’.
‘Through the planning processes with NSW Health Infrastructure, I have been working tirelessly to ensure as much work as possible goes to local businesses and contractors to boost our local workforce. These comments from Cr Milne jeopardise those discussions,’ he said.
‘Building the new Tweed Hospital provides an opportunity for local businesses, big and small, to be a part of one of the biggest government investments in Tweed’s history.
‘Cr Milne’s comments are a direct attack on our local workforce. They are threatening in their nature and show a complete disregard for local businesses.
‘The mayor should not only provide a full apology to the Tweed community, but I believe she has shown her inability to lead an effective council, and therefore should tender her resignation,’ Mr Provest said.