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Maitland councillors gagged from speaking out on old hospital’s future

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Maitland councillors claim a gag order has been placed upon them from speaking out about the future of the town’s old hospital site.

The out-dated High Street premises closed its doors after a new $470 million state-of-the-art facility opened in Metford on 19 January 2022.

Since then, numerous community concerns have been raised about locale’s prospects moving forward.

That trepidation extends to local councillors, too.

The site is of huge local significance, being the home of Maitland Hospital for more than 150 years.

On 24 November 2023, councillors received an update on the situation via the general manager’s office.

As part of the advice from Crown Lands, an arm of the NSW Government, they were informed of a developing situation in relation to the site but have been allegedly prohibited from discussing the issue in the public domain.

And, that directive has angered Liberal councillors Mitchell Griffin and Sally Halliday, who’ve questioned the state body previously.

“We are extremely concerned as there is information being kept from the community,” Cr Griffin said.

“It’ll have a strong impact over the future of the site.

“Not only that, it’s an important area for the wider Maitland community and residents have a right to know what is going on.

“Sadly, we as councillors are not allowed to tell our constituents of what is happening with their former hospital.”

Cr Halliday also expressed her dismay.

“It’s unfortunate that we are seeing the NSW Government gagging our local councillors,” she said.

“There needs to be a level of openness and transparency.

“However, we are seeing none of this in relation to the former hospital site.

“There is information there and the community should be updated now.

“But, instead, Maitland residents are being prevented from knowing what is happening.”

Cr Griffin said the government’s attitude wasn’t “good enough”.

“It is publicly-owned land and our community expects to be kept informed on its progress and have a say in its future,” he added.

“All we are asking for is the government to be open, honest and transparent with the people of Maitland.

“Let them know what is occurring with the site.”

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