Hospital site selection could breach Commonwealth Act
RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot says the selection of the new Tweed Valley Hospital site at Cudgen could breach Commonwealth laws.
In a statement released this morning, Mrs Elliot said she would question Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price over critically endangered wildlife on the Cudgen site in a bid to have the project relocated.
Mrs Elliot said she had written to Ms Price asking if she was aware of the proposed development's "unacceptable impact on listed threatened species".
She said under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation (EPBC) Act, a project must be referred to the Commonwealth Minister for Environment if it is likely to have a "significant impact on matters of national environment significance".
In her questions, Mrs Elliot asks what actions have been taken to protect endangered species on the site including koalas, the wallum sedge frog, the water mouse and southern black-throated finch.
Mrs Elliot said the Environment Minister would have 20 days to decide if the site decision required a formal assessment and approval.
The project would then need to be put up for public consultation.
"Our environmental laws are there to protect our land, water and precious plants and animals for all Australians," Mrs Elliot said.
"These laws provide federal oversight and a framework to ensure that developments such as the proposed Cudgen development on state significant farmland maintain integrity.
"The decision by the NSW State Government and the Tweed Nationals MP, Geoff Provest, to push this contentious project against community wishes and prior to Commonwealth assessment would be a contradiction of the conditions of the EPBC Act.
"Labor will continue to stand with our community and save the state significant farmland while building a better, faster and on budget hospital at Kings Forest."
Tweed MP Geoff Provest has been contacted for comment.