Greens push to legislate free hospital car parking

The Greens will put forward amendments to the Malinauskas Government’s free shopping centre car parking legislation in a bid to prevent health workers from being slugged with parking fees at hospitals.

Aug 24, 2022, updated Aug 24, 2022
The Royal Adelaide Hospital. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The Royal Adelaide Hospital. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The state government has introduced legislation in the Lower House that will prevent major suburban shopping centres from introducing car parking fees unless they obtain approval from the relevant local council.

The legislation, due for debate when parliament returns on September 6, applies to shopping centres with an area of more than 34,000 square metres.

The Greens announced today they will push for amendments to the legislation to prevent public hospitals from charging health workers for car parking.

Greens MLC Robert Simms said while his party was “broadly supportive” of the government Bill, the same principle that applies to retail workers should apply to hospital workers.

“A global pandemic and a tough flu season has taken its toll on our hospital workers and the Government is struggling with retention and recruitment,” Simms said in a statement.

“Victoria and NSW have provided ‘thank you bonus payments’ to their workers, while in SA the Malinauskas Government has dumped their free car parking and public transport.

“The Greens amendment would prevent public hospitals from slugging their workers with car parking fees. It’s a small gesture – but one way of recognising the essential service of these workers.”

The Greens also said they would seek amendments to the Bill giving the minister the right to approve shopping centre car parking fees – rather than local councils – and also improve public transport access to suburban shopping centres.

The parliamentary push comes amid a row between health workers and the Malinauskas Government over paid hospital car parking, which was reintroduced on July 1 after being waived during the pandemic.

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Unions argue the reintroduction of hospital parking fees represents a two per cent pay cut for a hospital cleaner earning $27 an hour.

The Liberal Opposition has already indicated it will vote against the shopping centre car parking legislation, citing government “hypocrisy” over hospital parking fees.

InDaily asked the state government whether it supports the Greens’ amendments to the legislation.

In response, a government spokesperson said: “The Labor Party made this promise well before the last election and we are moving to deliver this policy in government.”

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