Goodman says MP 'all talk' on hospital
LABOR candidate for Tweed Ron Goodman has criticised sitting MP Geoff Provest for being "all talk" before the last election, then going silent on issues relating to the Tweed Hospital.
Mr Goodman, a former editor of the Tweed Daily News, said Mr Provest had not mentioned the words "Tweed Hospital" in NSW Parliament since he was elected in 2011.
"Geoff Provest spouted loudly about the hospital when he was in opposition," Mr Goodman said.
"Then almost as soon as he won, he clammed up.
"He hasn't spoken the words 'Tweed Hospital' in parliament in more than three years."
Mr Provest, while admitting he was chuffed his opposing candidate had read all of his parliamentary speeches, said he was surprised by the Health Services Union's criticism over staff shortages.
"Only a few months ago, the HSU came to me about some other staffing issues out there (hours and staffing levels for in-hospital cleaning staff)," Mr Provest said.
"I made representations to the Minister (Jillian Skinner) and they were resolved.
"I always said that if they had any other issues, they could come to me and we would attend to it.
"Our office has been open for two weeks and no one has approached me."
Mr Provest said Mr Goodman was "probably right" about his non-utterances in parliament, but said it did not diminish the work happening behind the scenes.
"Over the past two years, (NSW Health Minister) Jillian Skinner has mentioned Tweed Hospital about 10 times on various issues, and I've always endorsed that," he said.
"I've also had Jillian here about 10 times in the past 12 months and I go to the hospital on roughly a monthly basis to talk to the doctors and nurses.
"I was in Sydney just last week talking to the Health Minister's office about the hospital's redevelopment plans."
But Mr Goodman said the parliamentary silence was worth noting.
"He's been in government for almost four years. It seems the Tweed MP has been pretending everything was fine the whole time, hoping no one noticed."