Daley says Tweed seat is 'crucial'
STATE Opposition leader Michael Daley has described the Tweed region as a "crucial seat” in the upcoming March election following a walking tour of Kingscliff on Tuesday.
Mr Daley told the Tweed Daily News that State Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot had urged him to visit the region and speak with residents concerned about the site of the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital.
"It's a crucial seat for us and we've got a great candidate up here in Craig Elliot,” Mr Daley said.
"Craig wanted me to come and hear the residents concerns about the hospital, I met with them and spoke about the hospital and they asked me for an ironclad guarantee (that we would move the hospital) and I was happy to give them that.”
Mr Daley said his visit had nothing to do with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who made an unannounced visit to the Tweed on Saturday and was criticised by hospital site protesters over a lack of engagement.
"I didn't know she was coming up and nor did any of the locals, that's the point, it's very lame for a Premier to come into an area particularly where there are serious concerns bubbling away and to hide, fly in, fly out, and not talk to the residents,” Mr Daley said.
"What's the point of coming up if you're not going to talk to the experts? I learned early on that the experts are the locals and to second guess them and tell them what to do at your own peril.”
Mr Daley said after speaking with the community, "the general consensus was they want the hospital to be built at Kings Forest and the Cudgen location is unacceptable.”
But Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the Premier did speak with the experts by taking a tour of the existing Tweed Hospital with medical staff, who "want the government to get on with the job of building the new hospital.”
He said Ms Berejiklian took time to meet with Kingscliff and Pottsville residents during street walks which allowed "residents to meet the Premier in a casual setting where they otherwise may not get the opportunity.”
"The only person who is hiding is Craig Elliot, who is still refusing to answer questions put to him by members of the public surrounding Labor's hospital policy timelines and budget,” Mr Provest said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian's office has been contacted for comment.