Ben Franklin, Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, today announced that the NSW Government would offer to sell the Mullumbimby District Hospital site to Byron Shire Council for $1.
“This is a terrific outcome for the community. It was very clear to me at the rally held on 23 April that there is enormous support for retaining the site in the community’s hands in perpetuity. And I have heard a range of wonderful and innovative suggestions for its future use,” Mr Franklin said.
Mr Franklin convinced the Health Minister to stop the proposed demolition of the hospital and to allow the Council to offer a “reasonable” price to buy the site.
On 26 April he met with Mayor Simon Richardson and General Manager Ken Gainger to discuss the options on how to proceed.
“At the 26 April meeting with Council, we agreed that all parties would try to convince the Health Minister to gift the site to Council, particularly as they will have to take full responsibility for any required remediation,” Mr Franklin said.
“I am delighted to have been able to achieve that and thank the Mayor and Council for the constructive way they have handled the issue,” he said.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard congratulated Mr Franklin for his tireless advocacy for the Mullumbimby community.
“Your local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin has been relentless on this issue,” Mr Hazzard said.
“He made it clear to me that he felt that the community, through the Council, should receive the site for a token amount. His passionate advocacy has led to this result,” he said.
Due to the asbestos contamination of the site, the government still believes that the most sensible outcome is for Council to demolish the buildings. However, the Council now has the opportunity to suggest other approaches to make the site safe for the community.
For full transparency on hazardous materials on the site, NSW Health will make available to Council all Hazmat reports and other relevant documentation.