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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Kingscliff residents have ‘serious concerns’ over hospital development

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This what the NSW government says the new Tweed hospital will look like. PHOTO: NSW Health Infrastructure

Despite significant local opposition to the Tweed Valley Hospital being built on top of State Significant Farmland (SSF) in Cudgen, near Kingscliff, the NSW Liberal-National government pushed ahead and the first concrete has now been poured on the site.

However, the community remains ‘seriously concerned’ over the risks to the remaining SSF that surrounds the site, the future of free parking for staff and visitors, and the future of the existing Tweed Hospital according to Peter Newton, president of the Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association Inc (KRPA).

‘The Association welcomes progress on the hospital development for the benefit of the Shire,’ Mr Newton told The Echo.

‘The chosen location was always the issue for the community, not the need for a new hospital in the shire, which is something the community always supported.

The fertile red soil of Cudgen. Photo supplied.

Loss of farmland

‘The community remains deeply concerned over the future of the remaining state significant farmland. At no point in the [recent] media conference’s was the matter of protecting the remaining farmland raised – despite Mr Provest’s [Nationals MP for Tweed] previous ‘iron-clad guarantee’ election commitment and his subsequent statements reaffirming this protection.’

Mr Newton sites the moves from both Brisbane developer IRBS to bring their land adjacent SSF into a future stage of the hospital development and the ‘recent marketing of protected, state significant farmland at 738 Cudgen road as having ‘development potential… opposite the Tweed Valley Hospital’.

These are both a ‘significant cause for concern for the community that this protected [SSF] farmland will soon be lost,’ said Mr Newton.

Free parking

As anyone who has ever had to pay for hospital parking knows, it can add a significant cost to a visit for treatment or for visiting ill friends and family. Mr Newton told The Echo that the Health Minister had provided very ambiguous responses to their seeking further confirmation of free parking at the future hospital.

North Coast Greens MP Dawn Walker has accused the major parties of playing politics over the Tweed Hospital during the site selection process. Photo supplied

Maintaining Tweed Hospital

Mr Newton said that while the provision of free parking for staff and visitors at the new hospital and also the ongoing operation of the existing Tweed Hospital (including emergency services) were clear election commitments of Mr Provest KRPA ‘were deeply concerned about the State Government honouring their free parking and Tweed Hospital commitments, despite Mr Provest’s election promises’.

KRPA have written to Mr Provest once again seeking confirmation on all three points of protecting SSF, free parking and a continuation of the existing Tweed Hospital, including emergency services. They have asked Mr Provest to ‘to take his election promises… up with the respective ministers and obtain their “ironclad guarantees” that these commitments will indeed be honoured.’

Provest responds

Responding to The Echo’s questions over these issues Mr Provest said, ‘Thank you for your email asking the same questions that have been asked and answered many times before. It doesn’t matter how many times you print misleading claims fed to you by the opportunistic federal Labor MP, they still are not true.

‘The real story is that this $673 million project is the largest ever investment in health infrastructure in the Tweed/Byron area. $72 million is being spent this year alone, much of it to pay hundreds of local tradies who are already working on site,’ said Mr Provest.

‘The development will have a hugely positive impact on the health of the community, including treating on site more than 5,000 patients a year who until now have had to travel away from the area for specialist treatment.

‘Why not be positive for a change and print that? It is accurate after all.’


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Most stupid location to place a major hospital. Not just the state significant farmland that’s already being earmarked for parking, specialist facilities, etc., that road is extremely narrow and busy.
    In fact all possible access roads are single lane, and most are narrow country access routes. Traffic to and from the TAFE, High School and Village is often at a standstill during peak times, getting an emergency through will be impossible unless there are major roadworks that would not be necessary at other more suitable sites.
    Add to this the fact that this site is isolated during major flood events and the positioning defies ration. Ridiculous politically motivated waste of taxpayer dollars.
    When we add in the way the Murwillumbah Hospital is being allowed to fall into disrepair, what’s going to happen so that Valley residents don’t have to travel over an hour to hospital facilities? Especially in major flood events when this area is frequently cut off?
    Sydney centric pollies who don’t have a clue!

  2. In the good old days when Australians were Australians we had a place called TWIN TOWNS because Coolangatta Qld was intertwined with Tweed Heads NSW and so were the people and a Tweed Heads Hospital was built for them with the patient catchment area extending for those symbolic twins over the Qld border past Currumbin, past Palm Beach, right up to Tallebudgera Creek. Is it no wonder the Tweed Heads Hospital has a parking problem and the member for Tweed, Geoff Provest was embroiled in a Paid Parking issue because of all the Queenslanders coming down from Palm Beach, Currumbin and Tugun to our NSW State Hospital to park in the streets around the Tweed Heads Hospital. The hospital Queenslanders have is the John Flynn Private Hospital. John Flynn Hospital has built multi-level car parks and it is FREE PARKING at Tugun at the Hospital. Free parking for patients who have a high income with Private Health cover.
    Geoff Provest created many headlines in the local papers about the Paid Parking issue that he was advocating at the Tweed Heads Hospital, Florence Street, Tweed Heads. There were heated meetings and argumentative meetings that the Tweed community did not want Paid Parking. To slide under that heat was another argument going on as to what the payment would cost the Tweed public to visit family and friends in hospital. Nothing was solved as the Tweed Shire is a depressed economic area with high unemployment. The heat remained up in the air but all went quiet while the problem was not resolved. Tweed Shire Council did not know what to do to resolve the matter against the member for Tweed standing firm on Paid Parking.
    In 2018, out of the blue came the Plan from our member for Tweed and the NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard of a very hazardous move. Out of the blue, out of the sky, came the Plan for the New Tweed Hospital at Cudgen on the red soil plateau and the Plan was still to have the patient catchment area extending over the Qld border right up to Tallebudgera Creek. And now we have heat, ire and angst in the community and yelling and shouting from the community about Parking and where vehicles are to go or are they to be planted on the red soil plain for growth. The argument continues if there is to be FREE PARKING or that their purses and wallets will be ripped open by paying for Paid Parking at the New Tweed Hospital on red soil, on the Cudgen agricultural plateau. This is indeed a sick issue and a sic issue. The Cudgen red soil is for local fruit and vegetable production to keep local food prices down or the fruit and vegetables will come down by truck from the Brisbane markets. Increased prices could be a result. Do we want to buy avocados from the Brisbane Markets and other fruit or buy them locally at local farms, one being owned by former Councillor Bob Brinsmead?
    The Cudgen Red Soil Plateau is of State Significance Farmland and farms produce vegetables and fruit with vitamins and those vitamins guards against ill-health. When the member for Tweed promulgated this Hospital Plan, and Tweed is in the state of NSW just why are Queenslanders to go to the New Tweed Hospital when we in Tweed Shire pay rates and taxes in this NSW State to the NSW State government. Regarding Health and Ill-Health and where to park it, just look at the state we are in.

    • People who choose to have private health cover aren’t necessarily high income earners. Just people who choose to make health cover a priority. Which means less pressure on the public system.

  3. How will this Hospital “treat 5000 patients a year who until now had to travel for specialist care”
    The new hospitals operating budget has not been increased so any new services will have to wait for budget increases which maybe a long time coming if ever. Let alone recruitment and training of new staff

  4. I have secondary cancer and people from over the border have to come over the border for chemotherapy look at the castigating of Anastazia by the LNP get a brain and move on.

  5. I think this Hospital should of been built 10 years ago this area has grown so much in last 13 years & is still expanding people seem to be flocking here because it is beautiful place to live. Let’s face it we need this Hospital badly people get sick need operations Cancer care. All these greenies must realise places need progress & Hospitals for communities it has to be built somewhere not enough land in Tweed Heads.

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