Campbelltown Hospital staff fight paid parking

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren with hospital staff and signed petitions.
Campbelltown MP Greg Warren with hospital staff and signed petitions.

Campbelltown Hospital staff are continuing their fight against the paid parking structure coming to the site in the near future.

Health Services Union members have collected more than 1500 signatures in a petition against the plan, which would see staff paying a maximum $23.60 per week to park in the new car park.

The staff and union representatives have been fighting the plan since it was first mooted, and now say the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard must step in and make Campbelltown Hospital exempt from the expensive paid parking policy.

HSU Public Health Manager Robert Sheehy said it wasn't fair that the hospital was considered the same as inner Sydney hospitals when it came to parking.

"The policy doesn't take into account the lack of public transport options available, and the little to no street parking surrounding the site," he said.

"Most staff and visitors would live outside the immediate area and need to park in the car park.

"To impose this maximum fee, the same as metropolitan hospitals in the inner city which have far better access to public transport, is an abuse of the system that's in place.

"We've written to the Ministry of Health and Health Minister Brad Hazzard and will continue to campaign for a reduction in fees for staff and visitors right up to the state election, and even after that if we need to."

Campbelltown Hospital is part of the South Western Sydney Local Health District, which is classified as a metropolitan health district. The South Eastern, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains are also metropolitan, while the likes of Murrumbidgee, Mid North Coast, Western NSW and the Far West are considered rural and regional.

The Health Services Union believes the lack of public transport available to Campbelltown Hospital workers and visitors should make the site exempt from the policies that are in place at other metropolitan sites.

Mr Sheehy said the Campbelltown Hospital members recently met with union officials and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren to further their discussions and hand over the petitions, which have been signed by patients and visitors as well.

He said, as there were more than 500 signatures, the health minister was required to respond.

"The petitions will be taken to Parliament in the next week or two," he said.

"We encourage the community to continue showing their support by contacting their local MP or contacting Health Minister Brad Hazzard."

Staff are calling for their weekly parking fees to be capped at $10. Additionally, they want the first three hours to be free for the public and public daily fees to be capped at $10.

Mr Warren said he could not support paid parking at the hospital.

"In what warped and wacky world does this government think it's appropriate to slug patients, their loved ones and staff to park at Campbelltown Hospital," he said.

"It is an insensitive, inexcusable and inexplicable decision that proves this government is more concerned about profits than people.

"I applaud the HSU and staff for taking a strong and unified stance against the NSW Liberals' disgraceful plan to introduce paid parking at the hospital.

"Staff work to be paid, they shouldn't be forced to pay to work."

A local health district spokeswoman said they would continue to work with the union and hear their concerns.

She said the parking fees were in line with NSW Health policies and generous concessions were available to patients and carers eligible for reduced rates.

Fees collected from paid parking will cover the costs of construction, operations and ongoing maintenance of the car park.

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This story Campbelltown Hospital staff continue fight against paid parking first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.