Claims Tweed hospital vandalism was ‘a lie’
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has let fly at Tweed councillor Ron Cooper and residents who claim he lied about vandalism at the $534 million new hospital site.
"That is just rot," Mr Hazzard said. "I was advised by Health Infrastructure the equipment was very damaged."
Late last month, Mr Hazzard said geotechnical equipment had been vandalised at the Cudgen site where the new Tweed Valley Hospital is being built.
But on Friday Cr Cooper told a council meeting that equipment had not been damaged or stolen from the site, and accused the NSW Government of "cheap swipes'' and "smearing''.
"They haven't had any tools stolen or damaged," Cr Cooper said.
However Tweed Byron police chief Wayne Starling confirmed officers had investigated and witnesses had been urged to come forward.
The Government's approval of the site has divided the community with farmers saying it should not be built on State Significant Farmland, some Kingscliff residents fearing it will ruin the coastal charm of their town and the Greens demanding the existing hospital at Tweed Heads be upgraded.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne protested on the first day of work at the proposed site, and councillors Cooper, Reece Byrnes and Chris Cherry have consistently voted against the hospital being sited near Kingscliff.
Mr Hazzard late last month said the vandalism was being driven by people stirring up the community.
"Whoever did damage all of the geological equipment should hang their head in shame," he said at the time.
"It is time for people to put aside their political batons and get on the field to start playing in the one direction."
But at the council meeting on Friday, Cr Cooper said there had been no theft or vandalism.
"I think the Government has done its best to slow this down and has gotten so many things wrong," he said.
"It is sad politicians are playing this game. It is just for cheap swipes or political smearing. They haven't had any tools stolen or damaged."
Superintendent Starling said a report was made to police and officers had gone to the site to investigate.
"Police are asking for anyone with information or witnessed the incident to call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000," he said.
"There is documentation and everything and police are investigating. I have even seen the event number myself."