Greens slam compulsory acqusition of hospital site
GREENS MP and Health spokesperson Dawn Walker has questioned the State Government over plans to compulsorily acquire land for the new Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen.
In State Parliament, Ms Walker said the NSW Government was "wasting millions of taxpayers money purchasing land that the community wants to retain for agriculture".
"They should be investing in re-developing the existing hospital site at Tweed Heads," she said.
The Tweed Daily News reported earlier this month that the State Government had begun the compulsory acquisition process for the Tweed Valley Hospital site at Cudgen as the landowners and Health Infrastructure battle it out over the price of the land.
"Of the 23 hectares to be acquired, the Government has admitted that approximately 70 per cent is agricultural land, 20 per cent is nature reserve and 10 per cent is residential," Ms Walker told State Parliament.
"It's alarming that 90 per cent of this acquired land is currently being used for growing food and protecting wildlife, including endangered species like the wallum sedge frog, Mitchell's rainforest snail, southern black-throated finch, grey-headed flying fox and koalas.
"It should not be concreted over simply because we have a short-sighted Government that doesn't value State-Significant farmland or nature.
"I have grave concerns that locating the new hospital at Cudgen is the thin-edge of the wedge and will result in the massive over-development of Kingscliff and an economic downturn in Tweed Heads, which should remain as our regional health precinct."
Ms Walker's concerns come days after the Tweed Shire Council demanded the State Government prove endangered wildlife on the site won't be impacted by the hospital.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, who was speaking on behalf of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, said the 16 hectares required for the new hospital campus represented "about 0.13 per cent of the total State Significant Farmland on the New South Wales Far North Coast."
"Of the 23 hectares acquired, the current zoning includes approximately 70 per cent agricultural land, 20 per cent nature reserve land, and 10 per cent residential land," he said.
"I understand that some of that land may be compulsorily acquired.
"The site selection process was overseen by an independent probity adviser and has followed robust New South Wales Government requirements for selection of land for the public purpose."
Mr Blair said more than 50 potential sites were considered but the Cudgen site was selected as most suitable based on a "comprehensive assessment".