WATCH: Angry residents protest against Cudgen hospital site
MORE than 150 fired-up protesters rallied outside Tweed MP Geoff Provest's office yesterday over the controversial decision to locate the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital on State Significant Farmland at Cudgen.
The angry protesters shouted "save our soil", "stand for the land" and "shame on you" as they called on the Tweed MP to come outside and address them.
But Mr Provest never showed.
Team Relocate leader Hayley Paddon said it was time for Mr Provest to "listen to the community".
"We are here today to stand in front of Geoff Provest's office and tell him to come out and speak to his community after six months of not speaking to anyone in this community about the hospital and the development he imposes on our Cudgen farmlands," she said.
"It is time now to meet your constituents that vote for you. You're supposed to stand for the farmers as the National Party, which you are not doing. It's time to listen to this community now.
"We do not want Cudgen development and over-development in Cudgen or Kingscliff. How dare our politicians impose this onto us and then we come to their door as a community and they don't talk to us."
Relocate team member Kristie Hedley said the community had waited six months to hear Mr Provest defend his decision to build the hospital on Cudgen's red soil.
"One hundred and fifty residents, ratepayers and citizens are standing at our local MP's front door. We've waited six months, now he has the hide to have us waiting here again - this is his job," she said.
State Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot told protesters Mr Provest had "betrayed the community".
"The last thing we as a community need is an oversized, seven-storey hospital that is a Trojan horse for overdevelopment in Kingscliff and our coastal villages," he said.
But Mr Provest told the Tweed Daily News he did not front the protesters as the group had "made no contact with my office whatsoever".
"At the end of the day, Tweed desperately needs a new hospital," he said.
"We've done a number of consultations, we've got 60-odd locals on the many consultation groups and we've got a window of four years to do this.
"If we go any longer than that, the Tweed's going to be in crisis mode and that's the comments from our clinicians, who are strongly in favour of this site.
"I think everyone has a right to express their opinion but at the end of the day the provision of first-class health services has got to come first."
Mr Provest said he believed the protest was "pushed by labor" who were trying to promote Mr Elliot and "politicise the whole thing".