An artist's impression of the new Tweed Valley Hospital.
An artist's impression of the new Tweed Valley Hospital.

Byrnes accused of playing politics with hospital parking

ACCUSATIONS of grandstanding and using the Tweed Valley Hospital Project as a “political football” were just some of the comments made in what was a lively debate at Thursday’s Tweed Shire Council meeting.

Councillors were voting on the proposed feedback to be submitted to the NSW Government in relation to the Stage Two State Significant Development application.

The contentious issue in the debate was when Labor Councillor Reece Byrnes moved to amend the text, demanding the NSW Government ensure that parking at the new hospital would be free.

Cr Byrnes told the Tweed Daily News before the meeting he believed it was important the council urge the Government to keep a promise made ahead of March’s election.

“Since reports appeared in the Tweed Daily News that Geoff Provest and the Nationals lied about free parking at the new Tweed Valley Hospital, I have been inundated by members of the community furious at yet another broken election promise,” Cr Byrnes said.

“Before the election, Geoff Provest promised there would be free parking at the hospital.

“Now the Nationals are set to betray locals and impose paid parking at the new Tweed Valley Hospital.”

Councillors Pryce Allsop, James Owen and Warren Polglase were very critical of the Labor-councillor for this motion, which ultimately passed with the support of Chris Cherry, Ron Cooper and Mayor Katie Milne.

Cr Allsop said he wanted the council to be united on the issue of the hospital and to address the concerns they have with the State Government.

However he said he couldn’t support what Cr Byrnes had put forth because it would result in councillors fighting among themselves based on their political ideologies.

“I would like to not be so political and work with people,” he said in the chamber.

“I think there is an opportunity for Tweed Council to look mature and take it on in a better way because this is going to be an important project long term.

“I want us to work together so we don’t look like we have egg on our faces because we were fighting with each other.”

Cr Polglase accused the four councillors who supported the demand for free parking as using the issue as a “political football” while Cr Owen accused the motion of being ­written and endorsed by Cr Byrnes’ employer and federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot.