How much money council lost by making hospital parking free

A Lismore councillor says health staff are worried that people lining up for COVID-19 tests could be fined once paid parking is reintroduced around Lismore Base Hospital.

Cr Darlene Cook said she was impressed that workers were thinking of the community instead of themselves and how much they would have to pay.

"I have been told by delegates that staff there are concerned that people (who are) waiting in long queues to get tested for COVID-19 are worrying about getting a parking fine," she said.

"I think staff are more interested in their night shift colleagues having access to safe parking close to the hospital."

Cr Cook said she understood that council lost money it could be putting toward urgent road repairs during the period when parking was free.

"Council has a loss of around $50,000 in revenue during the April to October period compared to the previous year, and this is funds we could be using to fix our roads," she said.

"I suggest that council extend the free parking for another two weeks to see us through the school holidays as it seems the majority of people lining up for tests are from hot spots out of the region doing the right thing."

Health Services Union North Coast representative, Peter Kelly, said their members were concerned for everyone in their community.

"It's our belief there should not be any disincentive for people to get tested in a holiday region," he said.

"The last thing you want is for people queuing up is to worry about a parking fine."

Mr Kelly said he felt council should be "really deciding on if they want to do the right thing by the community".

"The NSW Government provides free parking within their own parking stations and within hospital grounds," he said.

"While they do this they should be reciprocating and keep street parking free during the pandemic."



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