Local Greens candidates for the upcoming state election have lined up to criticise the government’s plan to sell off land surrounding Royal North Shore Hospital, describing the plan as short sighted and completely contrary to the community’s interest.

“The selloff will result in the hospital being completely hemmed in by huge privately owned buildings, possibly blocking essential helicopter access and removing any possibility of the facilities expanding in the future.” said Willoughby candidate Robert McDougall. “That shows an unbelievable lack of foresight on the part of the government.

“On the one hand they have a metropolitan strategy that is forcing tens of thousands of new dwellings on to the north shore. On the other hand they are making plans like this that will completely stymie the development of facilities needed to provide for the growing population.

“They don’t seem to get that growth can’t happen in isolation. It needs to be supported by proper infrastructure, especially for essential services like health.”

North Shore candidate Andrew Robjohns said that while the government’s actions were a complete disaster the response from the Liberal opposition had also been disappointing.

“Shadow health minister and current North Shore MP Jillian Skinner has had absolutely nothing productive to say on the issue” Robjohns said. “All she’s managed to do is make vague statements about the need for a new plan in response to questions from journalists.

“There’s nothing about it on her website or on the Liberal party website. It seems like this isn’t really a priority for them at all.”

Lane Cove candidate Keith Mcilroy speculated that the Liberals would continue down the same track should they win government in March.

“Privatisation is at the core of the Liberal party ideology. I find it unimaginable that the Liberals would do anything other than continue to push ahead with the sell off, leaving the problem of inadequate health facilities to be dealt with in the future by someone else.

“The Greens on the other hand recognise the importance of public hospitals and would keep the surrounding buildings in public hands, giving the hospital room to expand to meet growing community needs in the future.

“This would ultimately be much more profitable. The selloff will only raise enough money to run the hospital for 3-4 months, far less than it would cost to purchase new space to expand the hospital in the future. There’s no reason that the surrounding buildings couldn’t be leased out in the short term, allowing for both financial gain now and proper hospital infrastructure in the future.

“Sadly though, it seems once again the Liberal and Labor parties are just trying to serve the interests of their developer mates, leaving the Greens the only ones to look out for the interests of the community.” He concluded.

For more information see nsw.greens.org.au