Opinion | Hospital parking should be free

YOU'LL BE PAYING FOR IT: The new paid car park under construction at Campbelltown Hospital. When the Premier and her local head-nodders open it, just remember that she's effectively not paying for it ... we are!
YOU'LL BE PAYING FOR IT: The new paid car park under construction at Campbelltown Hospital. When the Premier and her local head-nodders open it, just remember that she's effectively not paying for it ... we are!

A multi-storey car park is being built at Campbelltown Hospital, but the Premier has broken her vow to build a similar car park for commuters at Campbelltown station.

So why do we get one ... and not the other?

Call me a cynic, but the commuter spaces were to be free - whereas the hospital spaces are to be paid.

Up to $24 per day - with patients, hospital staff, and family and friends of the ill to be the designated cash cows.

Independent councillor Warren Morrison is channeling his late great mentor, Fred Borg, in bitterly opposing paid parking at the hospital.

But the government has given Campbelltown Council the same middle-finger salute it used when approving the Scenic Hills cemetery.

Indeed - the hospital car park is designed to be such a money spinner that it will not only pay for itself, but also - in time - fund the $632 million hospital upgrade.

That's why my back arches when Gladys and her head-nodders describe the new hospital car park as an "investment" in our area.

Is that the government investing in Macarthur, or reaping a profit from Macathur?

If it was truly investing in Macarthur, I'd imagine the government's attitude would go something like this:

"You know, we've turned Macarthur into the repository for Sydney's future growth, so it is unfair that existing residents have to shoulder the costs and pain of that. Particularly given we keep stripping services from them and breaking our promises. So, how about we invest IN Macarthur - you know, GIVE it infrastructure it needs."

I am, of course, dreaming.

On Planet Reality, the attitude is more like: "Hey, let's make the bogans pay for Sydney's growth ... and have the Premier cut a ribbon."

The government is not giving us a car park and hospital upgrade ... it is loaning us the money for these things. And like all loan sharks they want their money back. Plus.

Paid parking at Campbelltown Hospital will be a cash cow until the end of time - with us all footing the bill.

I'm sure the Gladys cheer squad will insist Macarthur is nothing special and should pay the same parking fees as other Sydney hospitals.

I would argue back we are special, for these reasons:

1. Gladys made us special, by turning us into Sydney's dumping ground, and we get little in return for that duty.

2. We don't have the public transport available in other areas and rely more heavily on the car, particularly Camden and Wollondilly folk.

3. We are a community that looks after itself, with Macarthur's unique 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer raising $4.3 million for world-class equipment/services the government fails to provide.

Liberal MPs Peter Sidgreaves and Nat Smith, you both have the Premier's ear, so please take those points to her. Win this for us.

The big money that Gladys saved by not building the promised commuter parking at Campbelltown station should cover the cost of the new hospital spots.

And, as for the $632 million hospital upgrade...

Well, if we add all the money this government has saved by closing down our motor registries, defunding our schools, refusing to fix Appin Road, cost-shifting to local councils, added with all the profits from flogging off Hurlstone's farm, and handing open space at Airds and Claymore to developers, it should help cover the cost.

A free hospital car park would also be a very practical way for Gladys to say sorry to local residents for breaking her election promise.

Free hospital parking would be a very practical way for the Premier to say sorry to us.