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Byron Shire
July 28, 2021

Relocate farewell hope that a ‘broken community’ comes together again

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The team behind the push to relocate the proposed Tweed Valley Hospital away from its planned site on state significant farmland are calling it a day.

The Relocate group leader Hayley Paddon told supporters on Sunday afternoon that after the recent narrow election win by the National Party candidate, the team feels that their fight against the relocation of the Tweed Hospital to prime red soil State Significant Farmland (SSF) tragically will be lost.

‘The bigger battle in the on-going war to save Cudgen Plateau’s remaining SSF from urban development must continue,’ she said.

‘We accept Relocate’s role is finished. We have exhausted all possible actions to save this piece of land.

‘We retain our unwavering support for better hospital services on the Tweed, but it is a pity that the painful consequences of MP Geoff Provest’s flawed hospital site choice will only become obvious to the community once the project is well under way.’

Provest’s flawed hospital site choice will only become obvious to the community once the project is well under way

Ms Paddon says she will continue to encourage the community to remain vigilant.

‘Do not be intimidated by bullies insisting opposing opinions are now not to be spoken in public,’ she said. ‘It is still our democratic right and responsibility to speak up to protect all Tweed farmlands, and our quality of life here in the villages.’

Paddon urged local residents to continue the fight to hold MP Geoff Provest to his March 1 promise of an ‘iron-clad guarantee that land outside the hospital site would not be rezoned’.

In her final speech Ms Paddon thanked all those who selflessly gave their time to campaign to protect our ‘irreplaceable farmlands, village lifestyle and local economy’.

‘Over the past year the Relocate team has worked together tirelessly to challenge the lack of prior consultation, the unsubstantiated claims of “chosen by experts”, the contempt for Tweed Council’s opinion, and the arbitrary over-ruling of the community’s two hard-won principles of protecting

Resistance has unfortunately come at the cost of vilification of good decent local residents

State Significant farmland and keeping a three storey limit in coastal villages.’

Locals vilified

‘Despite allegations to the contrary, our democratic resistance has unfortunately come at the cost of vilification of good decent local residents who have neither real estate interests in farmland nor money to be made from development.

‘It is very sad that such a contemptible counter-campaign was conducted, involving many fake and anonymous social media troll accounts that spread lies and myths about our members, hacking my family Instagram account into porn sites, a late night life-threatening phone call to one member, faeces spread on a supporter’s doorstep, and tirades of phone, email and public abuse.

‘The NSW Health Minister even found it necessary to smear Relocate supporters with totally unsubstantiated media inferences that they were responsible for site vandalism.

‘All of this social disruption has been solely because the government mysteriously chose to ignore its own legislation that prohibits the use of such farmland unless no feasible alternative exists.

‘To say no alternatives exist remains their continuing lie.

There is an urgent need to bring about healing and peace for supporters and members

‘But it is now obvious there is no remaining prospect of overturning the massive corporate forces ranged against our volunteer local organisation. There is an urgent need to bring about healing and peace for supporters and members. Rather than pointlessly expose them to any further abuse, we have commenced the formal winding up of our Relocate Association.’

In closing Ms Paddon said that Mr Provest and his government have affirmed their chosen single site is more than adequate to accommodate all the region’s health needs into the future.

‘There can no longer be misinformation spruiked about opposing important new hospitals when the public objects to any further urbanisation of our finest farmland.

‘The Provest promise can unite the entire community in its demand to save the remaining protected farmlands and the character of the Cudgen Plateau area.

‘We accept the hospital may be built. But the preservation of the remaining farmlands remains a goal that the whole community can now embrace.

‘I am certain this is the issue that can bring our broken community together again’.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. So the protest was all wind against the Cudgen Plateau and was a powderpuff and that puff dissipated into a puff of red dust.
    This is the way the National Party wins. All the puff against them is all wind.

    • The sitting Nats member and his gov won the election, so they will (subject to the appropriate approval processes) push on unencumbered with their plan to build this hospital on the plateau. The local member now has the tremendous responsibility to save the rest of the protected lands from falling to the land bankers and developers. It is completely his responsibility to honor his election commitment and to unite a community he has been integral in dividing. So far, 21,169 people have voted directly in favour of his one issue hospital campaign, 23,200 haven’t. This would suggest he needs to tread very carefully with how he treats the community from hereon.

  2. Ohh Peter Newton all over the internet spruiking his fairy tales still ey?
    Geoff Provest has no responsibility over saving “anything” from “anything”.
    Like a good game of 500, when you save the right bower for the killer blow, State Significant Development, trumps State Significant Farmland. The latter is the WEAKEST in the heirarchy , for THIS very reason. So it cannot stop, SSD or SSI.
    The Election was an absolute trouncing & one of the largest majorities in a typical low income demographic, since the Doug Anthony days. All this without a Liberal candidate, to garner even more votes & typically go towards nuff nuff minor parties like SAP, one nation or Shooters.

  3. I would like to see large (attractive) signs declaring ‘state significant farmland’ right along the west side of the tweed coast road to let all ratepayers know this is the case. Then if this or future governments attempt a further rezoning we can all rally together to protect some of this shires most valuable land because once it’s gone it’s gone for all future generations no matter how dire their food security.

    • That would be an embarrassment considering the large amount of SSF in the region that is underutilised.
      It would be better to direct energy into encouraging productive use of underutilised farmland or turn it into reserves.

      • It is a shame that ‘land bankers’, who purchased farms with the goal of profiting from development, are sitting on their parcels and leaving them unproductive.

        Working these farms would go against their long-term goals. We certainly have a lot of work to do to save our fertile, drought-free plateau.

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