Greens MP calls for new hospital to be built at Tweed Heads
NSW Greens MP Dawn Walker says she will pressure the State Government to build the new Tweed Valley Hospital alongside the existing facility at Tweed Heads.
Ms Walker, who is the Greens spokesperson for the NSW North Coast, said she rejected plans for the new hospital to be built at Cudgen or Kings Forest, instead pushing for the current Tweed Heads hospital site to be re-developed.
"We want sites in Tweed Heads to be considered for the new hospital, including the existing site in Tweed Heads, which is close to the Tweed Heads population centre, existing allied health services and could be expanded through the acquisition of adjoining properties to the west of the existing hospital," she said.
"It's appalling the way the National Party have sold-out local farmers with their plans to concrete over the state-significant farmland on the Cudgen Plateau and push for intense development on this fertile food producing land. They need to go back to the drawing board and talk with the community about re-developing the new Hospital in urban Tweed Heads where it belongs."
"The last thing we want to do is bring Gold Coast sprawl south of the Tweed River and leave thousands of Tweed pensioners a long way from the new hospital, many of whom chose to retire in Tweed Heads due to its close proximity to medical services."
Ms Walker is no stranger to the Tweed's hospital woes.
In 2016, the then Richmond candidate flew to the Tweed with Greens leader Richard Di Natale to pledge $100 million towards a new hospital in the Tweed, under a Greens Government.
"When it comes to funding for Tweed Hospital, it lags behind other hospitals in the electorate," Dr Di Natale said.
Another Greens member, Tweed Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne, has also previously pushed for the new hospital to be built at the current site.
"Thousands of seniors have invested their life savings into the Tweed Heads area for the security of living close to the hospital," she told the Tweed Daily News.
"The hospital could be expanded into the civic precinct to the west of the existing hospital and surrounding areas."
Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on Saturday that Cudgen would be the final site of the new $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital, following an extended Expression of Interest phase and community consultation by Health Infrastructure.
Mr Hazzard has previously said building next to an already operational hospital would be "problematic".
At a community meeting hosted by the Tweed Daily News last month, Health Infrastructure Senior Director Peter Lawless ruled out a brownfield site as an option for the new hospital.
He said a project team would complete a small study to show the potential problems with building on the existing site.
"The project team is doing a comparison review on what it would mean to build a new hospital adjacent with the existing hospital site," he said.
"They will do a short study to show the issues with costs and problems with the brownfield site."