Central Coast health workers have launched a petition against an expected 71.6 per cent rise in parking fees for staff at Gosford Hospital, when the new hospital carpark opens in March.
Health Service Union (HSU) NSW Secretary, Gerard Hayes, said the increased parking fees were a blatant cash grab.
“Staff have been paying $13.75 a week, but this is being jacked up to $23.60 week,” Hayes said.
“This means staff will be paying an extra $40 a month to park on-site.
“The sudden increase to the cost of parking is effectively a pay cut for hospital workers, at a time when workers are already suffering from rising cost of living pressures.
“Hospital employees like cleaners, kitchen staff, security guards and wards persons cannot afford to be paying top dollar for parking at work.
“Increased parking fees for staff at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital are being phased in over a 12-month period, so Gosford Hospital workers want to know why they are being treated differently.”
Hayes said the exorbitant cost of parking at NSW hospitals was a major source of concern for both staff and the wider community.
“With a tight state election coming up in just a few weeks, hospital parking will be an important issue in a number of key marginal seats,” he said.
“The major parties need to ensure that NSW hospital workers can have access to affordable parking at work.”
But a spokesperson for Central Coast Local Health District said fees at the new carpark would be in line with the NSW Health Hospital Car Parking Fees Policy, which had been developed in consultation with union representatives and introduced with the aim of having consistent fees across the state.
“The new Gosford Hospital $35.5m multi-storey hospital car park on Showground Rd is due to open in March this year,” the spokesperson said.
“The new parking facilities will initially provide 679 new car parking spaces and will expand to 805 car parking spaces when the Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute is built, providing more than 1,500 car parking spaces across the whole site.
“Following discussions with NSW Health and union representatives, staff have been given three months from when the carpark opens of lower fees, to give them the opportunity to adjust to the introduction of the standard parking fees.
“The NSW Health’s car parking fee policy supports the sustainable funding, construction and operation of new hospital car parks.”
Media release, Feb 25
Gerard Hayes, Secretary, Health Service Union
Media statement, Feb 26
Central Coast Local Health District