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Outrage as free parking ends for frontline nurses

The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not over yet - but nurses and other frontline health staff have been told that free parking will no longer be available while they work.

In a move that is expected to trigger outrage among the state's health workers, NSW Health bureaucrats last week informed staff that free parking arrangements put in place during the pandemic would cease from April 5.

The decision was based on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions with other temporary free carparking initiatives such as arrangements with local councils to also end on the same date.

Free parking was made available to health care workers in April last year.

Nurses wearing personal protective clothing at a COVID-19 testing clinic. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jenny Evans
Nurses wearing personal protective clothing at a COVID-19 testing clinic. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jenny Evans

The move to end free parking was dubbed a "disgrace" by the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association, which learned last week the government would be also capping future wage increases to just 1.5 per cent.

The state government last year abandoned its 2.5 per cent public sector wage cap in place of a 0.3 per cent increase, blaming COVID.

In response to a question from the state opposition in Budget Estimates last week, Public Service Minister Don Harwin revealed the government would be seeking a 1.5 per cent cap in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).

Nurses will again be charged for parking in hospital car parks beginning in April.
Nurses will again be charged for parking in hospital car parks beginning in April.

"It is being done, of course, to enable greater investment in generating infrastructure projects across the state in both metropolitan and regional communities," he said.

NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association general secretary Brett Holmes accused the state government of forgetting the "gold standard" effort of its ­public health workforce.

"Despite being on the COVID-19 frontline for 12 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 our public hospitals," he said. "These women and men have barely received a 0.3 per cent increase in their pay and the government wants them to open their wallets again. It's a disgrace."

 

Originally published as Outrage as free parking ends for frontline nurses



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