Legal action ruled out over hospital site decision
LAWYERS from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) say there is no legal avenue to challenge the controversial Tweed Valley Hospital site selection at Cudgen.
EDO NSW solicitor Belinda Rayment told the Tweed Daily News a workshop to be hosted by the organisation in Cudgen later this month would not be providing legal advice, but instead educating those against the development on "how they can engage in the process".
"We don't provide legal advice but information to communities which explains the process involved in these large developments," she said.
"I understand there's a lot of controversey about the site selection but we'll speak to the community about how there's not a lot of legal avenues to challenge that.
"We will speak about legal avenues to challenge particular decisions, but there have been no decisions made so far on the hospital apart from it being located opposite the TAFE, and that's not open to a legal challenge."
The EDO, which represents individuals and community groups in public interest litigation to protect the environment, has been involved in several high-profile legal cases before.
The non-profit organisation is currently representing a community group in Gloucester in a "landmark case" against a proposed coal mine.
Ms Rayment said it was "easier" to educate communities about their options early in the development process to avoid wasting time if a legal challenge is considered later on.
She said those attending the Cudgen workshop would "walk away knowing exactly what the process is, how they can have their say and what legal avenues are open to them along the way".
"Because the hospital could be Critical State Significant Infrastructure, I get the sense the community needs a bit more guidance on what that means," she said.
Relocate Tweed Valley Hospital spokesperson Hayley Paddon, who arranged the workshop, said she hoped it would help the community "learn about the process moving forward".
"I'd encourage people to come along to learn more about the impact of the development and show the local people not to give up and that we have to go through this process and within the process we can keep fighting," she said.
"That's what we're doing, we're fighting back."
WHAT: EDO Community Workshop
WHERE: Cudgen Leagues Club
When: Thursday, September 27 from 6-8pm.