Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser.
Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser. Contributed

Fraser fears new hospital will be 'held hostage'

FEDERAL Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser says he fears sitting Labor MP Justine Elliot could hold the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital "hostage” after she advocated against the site's location during her husbands state election campaign.

Mr Fraser says Mrs Elliot's support for her husbands "anti-hospital” campaign two months ago has voters worried she might "hold up any federal licences as payback”.

The hospital project still needs a Commonwealth hospital declaration, accreditation with the Australian Commission on safety and quality in health care and a licence from the Department of Health to be Medicare-eligible as an MRI service provider.

Its first development application is also yet to be approved.

"Richmond voters deserve to know if Justine Elliot will continue to oppose the new Tweed Hospital,” Mr Fraser said.

"The Elliots were pretty clear that they did not want the new Tweed Hospital built at Cudgen and they tried very hard to stop it.

"Labor could still hold up this development by refusing the appropriate licences, jeopardising the ability for local residents to get access to health services when they need it most.”

Country Labor candidate Craig Elliott with wife Justine Elliot MP place their votes at Centaur Primary School during todays NSW State Election.
NSW Labor candidate Craig Elliot with wife Richmond MP Justine Elliot. Scott Powick

But Mrs Elliot said Federal and NSW Labor had accepted the site would be located at Cudgen, claiming Mr Fraser was simply trying to divert attention away from his "Hungry Jacks scandal”.

Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord told the Tweed Daily News the matter of the hospital site was "now settled”.

"Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest and NSW Labor agreed the March 23 poll was going to be a referendum on the hospital location,” Mr Secord said.

"The matter is now settled”.

Mrs Elliot said the Nationals have revived the Tweed Hospital issue to "deflect attention from the scandal surrounding their candidate”.

"Matthew Fraser has been caught out blatantly lying and he is now trying to divert attention away from his scandal,” Mrs Elliot said.

"As a former police officer I saw many occasions where people were caught out and when caught out they get really scared and resort to lying, that's exactly what he has done, the question is what else is he going to lie about?”

"Both State and Federal Labor will work with the government to ensure the hospital is built as soon as possible.”