Campbelltown Hospital staff protest paid parking

Making a stand: Campbelltown MP Greg Warren signs the petition alongside Health Services Union assistant secretary Lynne Russell. Pictures: Jeff McGill
Making a stand: Campbelltown MP Greg Warren signs the petition alongside Health Services Union assistant secretary Lynne Russell. Pictures: Jeff McGill

"This is more than a kick in the guts - it's the government putting its hands in the pockets of people for the privilege of coming to work and looking after the community."

Health Services Union members are furious that Campbelltown Hospital management plan to introduce paid parking at the site.

HSU campaign manager Adam Hall told the Advertiser members took protest action last week to seek free parking periods when the new multimillion dollar car park is complete.

He said the car park - which will feature 800 new car spaces and is currently under construction - would be complete in February or March next year and hospital staff were more than frustrated that they would be expected to pay to go to work.

"We believe this is grossly unfair to the staff at Campbelltown Hospital," Mr Hall said. "Staff would be forced to pay a maximum of $23.60 a week to park in the new car park. And it's not just them, the parking fee structure for patients and visitors would see them pay $20.20 if they are at the hospital for five hours or more."

NSW Health Services Union assistant secretary Lynne Russell said hospital management was "out of touch".

"Staff at Campbelltown Hospital work hard for modest wages - the last thing they need to cop is a sneaky backdoor parking tax," she said.

"All we are seeking is a bit of fairness for hardworking people who spend their days keeping a busy hospital running. We work in this community and we also see the toll of parking costs on the community - that's why we are also asking for patients and visitors to have three hours free parking. It's not a lot to ask for."

People power: The Health Services Union wants free parking to remain at Campbelltown Hospital even when the new car park is built.

People power: The Health Services Union wants free parking to remain at Campbelltown Hospital even when the new car park is built.

A South Western Sydney Local Health District spokeswoman said management was working with the union to address their concerns.

"South Western Sydney Local Health District is having ongoing discussions with the Health Services Union as we transition to paid parking at Campbelltown Hospital," she said. "Car parking fees will be implemented in line with the NSW Health policies. Generous parking concessions are available to patients, and carers driving patients, who are eligible for reduced rates. There are also provisions for those experiencing financial hardship.

"Public parking (other than staff) is linked to market rates to avoid long-term parking by non-hospital users. Any fees collected from parking will cover the costs of construction, operations and ongoing maintenance of the new car park."

Mr Hall encouraged locals to sign the HSU petition (available at counters in the hospital) so they could reach 10,000 signatures and present the petition to Parliament.