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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Planning Minister’s support sought to protect Cudgen State Significant Farmland from development

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Tweed Shire Council Mayor Chris Cherry.

At last night’s Tweed Council meeting there was a late, urgent Mayoral Minute seeking the Planning Minister’s support in relation to the controversial $250m health and education precinct currently being proposed on State Significant Farmland near Kingscliff on the Cudgen Plateau. 

Tweed MP Geoff Provest. Photo pronto.com

The site is at 741 Cudgen Road, Cudgen, next to the new Tweed Valley Hospital, and it proposes building on SSF. At the time that the hospital site was re-zoned from SSF to allow the hospital to be built the local community were promised by local Nationals MP Geoff Provest that ‘locating the new hospital on SSF would not “open the floodgates to further development”.’ 

The developer for the ‘Cudgen Connection’ development, represented by Allan Larkin, Digital Infratech Director, presented their position to Tweed councillors for the development on Wednesday afternoon based on the argument that the site should not have been included in the original 600 hectares that were designated SSF in 2005. 

The Mayoral Minute seeks the planning ministers support to work with the developers ‘to identify a suitable site on appropriately zoned and categorised land that would see an ability for the vision to be realised in way that does not encroach upon State Significant Farmland’ (see full motion at end of story).

NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders. Photo Facebook

Ministers support Provest

Responding to questions from The Echo both the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders have both confirmed that they support local member Geoff Provest’s position.

Mr Saunders yesterday told The Echo that ‘The NSW Government made a commitment to protecting the remaining Cudgen farmland in the Tweed Shire. I support the local member and thank Geoff Provest for his advocacy in ensuring this land is protected for the Tweed Shire community’.

Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. Photo Facebook

Mr Roberts told The Echo on Wednesday 16 February that, ‘The NSW Government made a commitment to protecting the remaining Cudgen farmland in the Tweed Shire. I support the local member and thank Geoff Provest for his advocacy in ensuring this land is protected for the Tweed Shire community’.

The motion was supported by all councillors present. Councillor Warren Polglase was absent from the meeting.


‘That the Mayor urgently write to the Minister for Planning and Housing in respect of the “Cudgen Connections” redevelopment proposal and planning proposal (seeking to create a private hospital, medi-hotel, allied healthcare, rehab pool, gym, aged care facilities, essential worker housing, community hub, farmers’ market, eateries and an amphitheatre set in parklands on 5.7 hectares) on the site known as No. 741 Cudgen Road Cudgen, and currently in a pre-lodgement consultation phase with Council, identifying these critical concerns: 

  1. The possible loss of State Significant Farmland; and
  2. The potential to break a previous commitment to the local community by the NSW State Government that there would be no further expansion into the State Significant Farmland following the advancement of the new Tweed Valley Regional Hospital.


3. Requests that the Government give consideration to working with the proponents to identify a suitable site on appropriately zoned and categorised land that would see an ability for the vision to be realised in way that does not encroach upon State Significant Farmland.’

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  1. There is an anomoly here. A huge and big anomoly.
    If Cudgen Connections is prevented from building on State Significant Farmland then just why was the new Tweed Hospital built on State Significant Farmland?
    We are coming up to a Federal Election and the member for Richmond Justine Elliot is objecting to State Significant Farmland be built on.
    When the Hospital land was bought and rezoned by the State government at that time we were coming up to a State election and Geoff Provest had a Labor opponent for his seat of Tweed, Justine’s husband, Craig Elliot. The establishment of the New Tweed Hospital was a State election issue for Geoff Provest. Geoff Provest won the election because most of the Tweed people wanted a new Hospital and Geoff was re-elected.
    That means pure politics is in play. Should not the people of Tweed let the political play continue? If Cudgen Connections are prevented from building, then should not construction be stopped on the New Tweed Hospital and it be pulled down and the land be re-zoned back to State Significant Farmland as the zoning is wrong and incorrect as it was when it was rezoned.

  2. The tweed mayor with all due respect is missing the point..
    This developer WANTS to build his project in the place that HE has selected..
    The developer has now revelled in his request..that he has spent a shed load of money getting experts writing up reports to show that the land HE wants to build on is suitable and that the project via all these reports he has gathered up back up his argument that the area should be rezoned to benefit his project.
    The Koalas, farm land..these are all just chattels to these developers..levers to pull when it suits them.
    This developer has spend a few million buying this land and much more gathering experts over time to get these reports benefiting his side of the argument to build their project.
    This developer KNEW from the very beginning that they could get the land rezoned one way or another…and now its a waiting game playing a bit of legal and political manoeuvring.
    So people like reality shows..well, here is one playing out in reality..right before your face Tweed Valley !
    A developers money V’s the Rate Payers of Tweed.
    The mayor writing letters requesting a state minister sanction land to an iron clad policy of not allowing development is playing into this developers hand for they want this to happen, it gives them a legal excuses to head off to the land and environment court and crank up the financial and political pressure.
    The developer has spent millions getting to this stage and spending a few more million to get up a $250 million project..
    This developer is NOT going to go away..not by a long shot.

  3. If I fill in a bank form with “Kerry Packer”, does it make me Kerry Packer? If I wear a shirt saying I’m Russian, does it make me Russian? The answer is “no”. The fact that some bureaucrats put an arbitrary line on a map to carve out a huge swathe of land as SFS does not mean each square cm is actually “significant farmland”. The line is about as meaningful as the NSW/QLD border drawn by some remote planners 150 years ago. In truth, this small parcel of land has not been used for farming in decades, and even when it was, it was absolutely marginal land. Any government that turns down the opportunity to have the significant benefits of such a service industry hub in our region to preserve a paddock with 2 sheep and a cow, would be negligent. All planning needs rational thinking, and occasionally minor concessions need to be made for major benefits. These opponents shouting down a fantastic future landmark and employment hub for our local residents had better come up with a much better argument than “it’s significant farmland”! (PS. I have absolutely no connection to the development)

  4. Dear me it sounds like all the developers friends are commenting. Look they bought the land knowing the zoning, now they want to change it. To make it look reasonable they propose educational facilities and a sus koala research centre. If they care so much plant some trees there and build somewhere else which has appropriate zoning. They should have been honest at the start as even blind Freddie could see what they were going to do. No need to shed tears for this person.


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