'We will put Cudgen plan to death': Labor
TWEED Heads will retain a health precinct if Labor wins the next NSW election in 2019.
The new NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley visited Tweed today to reconfirm Labor's promise of building a new hospital at Kings Forest, instead of the site chosen by the Berejiklian government on state-signficant farmland at Cudgen.
Mr Daley also committed to keeping the site of the current Tweed Hospital in "public ownership" to be used for health services.
"(If elected) we will set in stone our commitment to build the new hospital at Kings Forest," Mr Daley said.
"We will put the Cudgen plan to death, and more than that, we will also be committing today to keeping the existing hospital in public ownership," Mr Daley said.
"We will make a start on the (new) hospital within the first term of government."
Since the NSW Government announced the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital project in April, many community members have been questioning what will happen to the current hospital site at Tweed Heads.
"(Tweed Hospital) will remain in public hands even after the hospital at Kings Forest is built," Mr Daley said.
"This will be retained in public hands for health and community use. We'll sit down with the community and the experts and see what use we can put it to.
"We will not sell it to developers and stick a 20-storey hotel on it.
"People of this area want investment in schools and hospitals."
But Tweed MP Geoff Provest hit back at the plan, saying building the hospital at Kings Forest would be delaying vital health services the region needed now.
"Nothing happened during Labor's 16 years in government, and now they are back and want us to believe they have changed," Mr Provest said.
"Well the people of Tweed deserve more.
"Based on their previous 16-years in government, it's clear Labor will never build a Tweed hospital.
"Step one they will delay the project for as long as possible, step two they divert the funds to Sydney and step three is to make excuses as to why people in regional NSW should miss out yet again."
Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot said building the hospital at Kings Forest while also keeping health services at Tweed would ensure residents across the shire would have access to medical care.
"We take on board what the demographers are saying that all the future growth will be south of the river from Kingscliff to Pottsville, but that shouldn't come at the expense of north of the river," Mr Elliot said.
"We're about listening and designing and implementing frontline services that actually meet the demand of the community.
"Labor will get that land at Kings Forest and build the hospital and there's no chance of delays.
"We'll build a new hospital and we'll keep (the Tweed Hospital site) as a health precinct."