No New Cairns Hospital with “LNP to sell off health land at Edmonton”
State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said he is extremely disappointed that the Newman LNP Government has shelved plans to use a 19.85 hectare site at Edmonton, which was acquired in 2010, as the site for a future health facility.
“Concerns about the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) potentially abandoning plans for the use of the Queensland Health land at Edmonton were raised with me and I sought a meeting on 11 December with Board Chairman Bob Norman and CEO Julie Hartley-Jones to clarify the issue,” Mr Pitt said.
“When asked point blank, Mr Norman said it was the ‘considered opinion’ of the Hospital Board that the land was ‘too big’ and on that basis he told Queensland Health’s property unit that it was surplus to requirements.
“Mr Norman indicated the Board may be interested in a smaller alternative site but when asked if he’d explored the option of sub-dividing or excising the necessary portion from the Edmonton land already owned by Queensland Health, he simply said ‘No’.
“While nobody expects the CHHHS Board to become property developers, it’s hardly a ‘considered opinion’ if limited consideration appears to have been given to how the existing parcel could be best used before looking elsewhere.
“If the LNP Government Government has deemed this land is ‘surplus’ and sells yet another publically- owned asset, not only will it be a short-sighted decision but it will anger many residents.
“Three months have now passed and the public would not have been informed of this decision by either Mr Norman, Queensland Health or the responsible Minister, Lawrence Springborg if it had not been released in the media.
Mr Pitt said the decision to locate at the Edmonton site took into consideration flood levels, regional growth, proximity to future public transport corridor, the 30 year Bruce Highway Upgrade Master Plan, ability to operate during a cyclone, and sufficient land on a greenfield site to accommodate a helipad and allow for future expansion.
“Quite rightly, this was not the only site that was considered – several potential locations were examined, including on the eastern side of the highway at Edmonton.
“But weighing up all of the factors, the one that ticked all the boxes was the Mann’s Farm site which was compulsorily acquired by Queensland Health to provide certainty for our future health needs.