Government slugs hospital staff again as free parking ends

As nurses and midwives roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, many are angry the NSW Government has been quick to claw back a paid parking reprieve at the state’s public hospitals.

From April, NSW Health will resume charging nurses, midwives and other hospital staff up to $23.60 a week to park at their workplaces.

Brett Holmes, General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), said the government had been quick to forget the ‘gold standard’ efforts of its own health workforce.

“Despite being on the COVID-19 frontline for twelve challenging months, and the vaccine rollout in its infancy, the government wants to slug nurses, midwives and all other health staff with paid parking at public hospitals,” Mr Holmes said.

“These women and men have barely received a 0.3% increase in their pay and already the government wants them to open their wallets again. It’s a disgrace.

“For some, that’s more than $1,200 a year in parking fees that they’ll need to find within their family budgets.”

During Budget Estimates last Thursday, the government also confirmed it would pursue a new 1.5% wages policy cap through the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).

“Adding insult to injury, this government is hellbent on suppressing wages growth in NSW. It will drag hardworking health employees through an unnecessary IRC process yet again before agreeing to any pay rises,” added Mr Holmes.

“A punishing wage cap of 1.5% for public sector workers won’t get supported in the NSW Parliament, so the government will spend even more taxpayer dollars pursuing its agenda through the IRC. It’s ludicrous.”

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