Karina Hall, Kingscliff
Tweed’s Cr Warren Polglase’s claims that $40m would be wasted if the Tweed Valley Hospital site were moved from Cudgen. The NSW government should never have started spending this money in the first place before rezoning approval from RU1, Primary Production, to hospital zoning SP2 had been approved. The case for the planning minister to overturn the RU1 zoning is weak.
NSW government policy is to protect state-significant agricultural farmland. The policies on government websites including the ‘Maintaining Land for Agriculture Industries Policy’, the ‘North Coast Regional Plan 2036’, the ‘NSW Right to Farm Policy’ and the ‘Northern Rivers Farmland Protection Project: Final Recommendations’ state that the re-zoning of land from the state-significant protection should only take place when all alternative sites for development have been found not to be feasible. They also state land should not be rezoned if there are land-use conflicts.
The hospital development does not meet these requirements. The redevelopment of the current Tweed Hospital, the Chinderah site, and the Kings Forest option are all feasible. There are also many land-conflict issues, as highlighted in the EIS and Tweed SEPP submissions.
As stated by NSW government official Alex King in his EIS submission, the re-zoning will set a ‘precedent for development of land on a highly important agriculture resource that both the government and community have indicated should be protected for primary-production purposes’.