House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Constituency Statements

Richmond Electorate: Hospitals

10:24 am

Photo of Justine ElliotJustine Elliot (Richmond, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to update the House and expose the full extent of the shameful New South Wales Nationals' disastrous plan for overdevelopment and the destruction of state-significant farmlands at Cudgen on the New South Wales North Coast. There is widespread suspicion surrounding the true motivation and the real agenda of Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest and the New South Wales Nationals, who are blindly rushing ahead to impose a hospital on an inappropriate site on Cudgen farmlands. This is one of the most productive food bowls in New South Wales, and the National Party would rather see bulldozers digging up our farms for their developer mates than tractors ploughing our fields.

From the outset, it's very important to note that former Nationals state MP Don Beck has a large financial interest in a very large parcel of protected farmland which is situated very close to the Nationals preferred hospital site at Cudgen. The choice of The Nationals' selected site will seriously multiply the value of all nearby lands, including Don Beck's investment. So now we have the National Party abusing the New South Wales state significant development planning instrument to deliver rezoning for their developer mates and benefactors. It's a disgraceful use of state planning laws to rezone farmland for the benefit of prominent National Party identities. The public record shows that the Becks have been trying for the last decade to get their Cudgen land rezoned—first as a site for a police station and then as a seniors housing development—but all these have failed because this land is zoned state significant farmland. It is protected.

Aside from this dodgy deal, we know the Nationals have plans to close and sell off the existing Tweed Hospital, and we know they want to shut down the Murwillumbah hospital. We know they want to sell off the Tweed Hospital because Geoff Provest's office officially confirmed this in an email to a constituent. We know that they want to close the Murwillumbah hospital because they've been downgrading it for years.

We know this state government likes to sell off anything it can. In this term the New South Wales government has sold more than $50 billion worth of public assets. All these plans are devastating for our region, and they show the New South Wales government and the New South Wales Nationals and Geoff Provest can't be trusted with the healthcare needs of locals on the North Coast. They've abandoned those residents by imposing a hospital on a totally inappropriate site. These farmlands need to be protected, not developed, but the National Party have ignored the community and not listened to it. The community view is very, very clear. Of course we want a new hospital. We need a new hospital. But we also want to protect the rich Cudgen state-significant farmlands and we want to protect the very unique quality of life at Kingscliff. It is a wonderful coastal village. We want to stop any Gold Coast style overdevelopment in Kingscliff. Labor stands with our community in wanting a new hospital in the best location, at Kings Forest, where it can be delivered and built much faster and on budget.