When a car drove past the protest rally against paid parking at Campbelltown Hospital and beeped its horn in support, a huge cheer went up.
Earlier, scores of nurses, midwives and other health services staff chanted just as enthusiastically: No fee, park for free.
There to support them were local MPs Greg Warren and Anoulack Chanthivong, a representative of Dr Mike Freelander and Health Services Union boss Gerard Hayes, who warned the Berejiklian Government they were facing rolling industrial action until staff could park for free.
“The car parking was free for you while you kept the community safe during Covid,’’ Mr Hayes told the rally.
“You got a $180 a year wage increase and now the government is taking $1200 a year off you to park here.
“It’s absolutely outrageous and we’re not going to stand for it,’’ he said to cheers from the union members.
“There will be ongoing stoppages, there will be a stop work meeting next week and we will continue this fight until we win.’’
Brett Holmes, the general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association pointed out there was another good reason those working at Campbelltown Hospital should park for free.
“It’s all very well to build a new car park, it’s all welcome, it’s surely needed, this hospital is still growing and it has a shortage of staff, midwives, nurses and other specialists,’’ he said.
“Recruiting these people, who will have to pay tolls and other costs to get here and then have to pay another $1200 on parking will do nothing to make sure that this hospital is able to serve the community of Campbelltown.’’
State member for Macquarie Fields Anoulack Chanthivong congratulated the hospital staff for fighting the good fight on paid parking.
“It’s just not fair to make you pay to come to work,’’ he said.
“This is worth fighting for, it’s something we all believe in, something that benefits everybody in the community if parking can be provided for free.’’
State member for Campbelltown Greg Warren – a vocal opponent of paid parking at the hospital – said it was “disgusting’’ that staff, patients and their loved ones, are now forced to pay to park at the hospital.
“It was health workers like those at Campbelltown Hospital who were on the front line in the fight against Covid-19,” Mr Warren said.
“It was the same workers that bravely sacrificed their own welfare in order to keep our community safe.
“As a thank you, this draconian and heartless government cut those workers’ wages and told them they had to fork out $1200 for parking at work.
“It beggars belief that the NSW Liberals would treat health workers with such contempt and disdain.
“Good on those workers for making a stand today.’’