Liberals push to legislate free hospital car parking

The Opposition has indicated it will push for amendments to the Malinauskas Government’s free shopping centre car parking Bill to also guarantee free parking for hospital workers.

Sep 05, 2022, updated Sep 05, 2022
Parking at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Parking at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

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

The legislation applies to shopping centres with an area of more than 34,000 square metres.

But 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.

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

The shopping centre parking Bill will pass the Lower House but may face a tougher road in the Legislative Council where the Greens and now the Opposition have signalled they will push for amendments to give hospital workers free car parking.

Labor holds nine seats in the Upper House compared to the Liberals’ seven, with five MLCs on the crossbench.

The Opposition’s amendments would also give the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs the powers to approve new shopping centre car parking fees, rather than local councils.

“We have already rejected Peter Malinauskas’ pet project Bill because it’s fundamentally flawed and it is shocking that the Premier doesn’t have the perspective to realise his mistake,” Opposition leader David Speirs said in a statement.

“Peter Malinauskas has quickly turned his back on the same frontline healthcare workers that he promised the world to in the lead up to the election.”

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Malinauskas said it was the Liberal Party’s prerogative to vote against the Bill.

“I just wish that maybe someone from the Liberal Party spent some time talking to retail workers who aren’t able to get access to the car parks – the very limited number of car parks – that Westfield supply,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“What we’re seeking to do is protect residents in the Tea Tree Gully area and residents in the north eastern suburbs from yet another cost being imposed on them at a time when the cost of living is going up.

“What we want to do is provide a saving to people by preventing them from having to pay for car parking which is currently free.”

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