Lyn Dickinson, Pottsville
According to the NSW Government North Coast Regional Plan, it was always intended that the Tweed Heads hospital be refurbished, retained and expanded, not to that a new one be built on an alternative site.
Tweed Shire Council is totally opposed to the Cudgen site and wants to retain the current site. Greens Mayor Katie Milne is working tirelessly to retain and expand the current hospital. Council has called for an investigation into the site selection process.
So why is the National Party pushing for a new hospital in a rural location close to a beachside village? Could it be that there are plans to develop the whole area as a regional centre with Gold Coast style development? If a hospital is built on the Cudgen site, it is one step closer for the adjacent farmland to lose ‘state significant’ status, then it would be open slather to development.
Doctors are calling out for a major regional hospital to provide the medical needs of a growing population. The Gold Coast hospital cost $1.8 billion, but the Cudgen hospital is estimated to cost $534 million. So does this mean that at about a third of the cost we can expect about a third of the size of the Gold Coast hospital?
Labor is claiming they will build a new hospital at Kings Forest and retain the current hospital. They have failed to say whether either site will be a major regional hospital or what funding would be allocated to it. There is only one way in and one way out for the 10,000 people planned for Kings Forest, ie Tweed Coast Road. Add a hospital into the mix, and it will be a traffic nightmare.
Greens health policy is that everyone has the right to timely, quality health care. The fairest, most efficient way to achieve this is a well-resourced public system. They are committed to retaining and expanding the current site and ensuring that the amenity of the Cudgen and Kingscliff communities is not destroyed. With climate change becoming an ever-increasing threat to the viability of farmland to the west, it is more important than ever that we retain our fertile red coastal soil for agriculture.