29 May 2006

I know it's unfair, but I don't care: Katy

| Ari
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The Minister Not Responsible has conceded it’s unfair to slug medical students with parking fees when evey other Tom, Dick and Harriett even remotely connected with our hospitals gets an exemption.

But even so, she’s not going to do anything about it.

Previous RiotACT coverage here and here.

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That’s a nasty persecution complex you’ve got there, Nyssa.

Teschers are not alone there. Anyone working in a large, identifiable group sullies the name of all the others in that group when they screw up. Need I mention lawyers, public servants, geneticists…

Yep – no one seems to care when a minister fucks up, and that is a travesty. Everyone seems to have meekly accepted that politicians lie shamelessly and unrepentantly or are grossly incompetent. But we get the politicians we deserve. This is why I am driven to apoplexy whenever I hear a fatalistic statement about politicians “just being liars”.

Seepi – possibly. Yeah, it does seem to be a little counter intuitive; but do you really think an out-of-state doctor is even going to consider pay parking when they’re deciding whether they move to Canberra or Rooty Hill? Likewise, do you really think any Doctors or Nurses at TCH are going to decide to move away from Canberra on the strength of having to pay for parking?

caf, good idea but I’d have to sell my soul. Then again, I’ve said the same to people who bag out teachers, nurses etc. Perhaps I might.

Mr Shab, the difference between a teacher (note: not all teachers) and a Minister is simple. One fucks up and the whole system is blamed (teachers) vs a Minister fucking up and no one gives a shit.

seepi, good call.

The ACT is undergoing a shortage of nurses and doctors (like most of the country/world) and is meant to be be thinking of ways of attracting medical staff to Canberra. Pay parking is not consistent with that.

MLA’s do their job and get paid. At least we get to decide which of them keep their jobs (well, not exactly. Damn Hare-Clarke). I don’t have a problem with what they are paid. They need to be held to account for the work they do, though. Vigourously.

What have they done for us lately? What a thoroughly faecious arguement. What has a teacher done for me lately? Shit! They deserve a paycut!

Despite the fact that say, Corbell is a dopey little shitbag, he earns his pay. I’d say he works longer hours for his packet than you and I.

I’d like to see him chucked for gross incompetence; but well…I voted for the guy, so I guess I got what I deserved.

He’s in a job that pays that kind of money. Get over it. He doesn’t get paid much more than your average middle-high ranking public servant.

If it’s so easy and overpaid why don’t you step up and take a shot, nyssa.

MLAs should take a paycut. What have they done for us lately?

Perhaps they should have performanced based pay with REAL performance guidelines, not just those designed to keep the “useless” ones in their position.

Spare me the populist bit, Nyssa. MLA’s take a pay cut? Don’t make me laugh. I think we need to be more concerned with getting value for the money we pay that paying them less.

Hell – I’ll cough up more if it means we get a consistently decent standard of governance!

Yep – nurses get a rough trot. Stinky work, odd hours, long hours, standing up, physically demanding etc. Ditto for cooks, and they get even less money for their trouble. Ditto for plenty of other trades. Nurses have just always had a better union…

Our nurses are already treated like shit, with longer hours and less pay.

They deserve a break.

Again, it is just the Govt’s BS coming back to haunt us all.

They could easily raise the money by taking a pay cut, getting rid of Govt cars etc. Simple really.

Why should essential services be exempt from pay parking? Hospital workers should be put on a pedestal seems to be what you’re inferring.

Yep – it’s a bummer for them, but it’s a bummer when previously free parking becomes pay parking for anyone who has to park there.

I maintain that a doctor is no more special than any other worker, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t pay to park at work.

We have to pay for the govt’s mistake because nobody else can or will. Sadly, letting the ACT go bankrupt is not an option I’d care to explore for the sake of not having pay parking.

Mr Shab, it was the inference that those who do a public service aren’t paying because they’re “special” and how dare they complain etc that annoyed me.

Hospitals are essential services and therefore shouldn’t have paid parking attached to it.

It’s just more revenue raising by a Govt that has totally shafted the Budget by not effectively managing the treasury.

Why should we have to “pay” for their mistake?

Nyssa – everyone else pays for parking. Why not people at the hospital too? I’m pretty sure you’ve gotta fork out at Westmead and RPA.

As for people providing a public service being “below you”…where the hell did that come from? And when did teachers and police come into this? You seem ludicrously sensitive to the merest suggestion that members of your profession are not the paragon of all that is good and virtuous in this world. Chill out or switch to decaf!

Sorry for the rant, ran out of coffee….

Why is it that anyone who provides a public service – nurses, doctors, teachers, police – are subjected to absolute BS?

Does that mean that they are “below” you because they do provide a public service and therefore should be made to “pay” for everything, including parking?

No one should pay for parking at a hospital. I hope the person who thought of this burns in hell.


How many people here actually complained to Minister Depression when the policy was first announced?

I have been paying parking for 18 or more years on land that was gifted to the ACT government on self government. SO you whinging health workers have had a free ride until now and the gravy train has pulled in tot he station folks.

However, does the net result of this mean that office workers in Woden will find that car parking in their area is going to be squeezed once all those countless workers at the hospital realise they might as well try and find a park closer to the town centre?

“The argument that pay parking is an industrial issue is bollocks – it only became one when the Government attempted…” so is it or isn’t it Laurie?

As far as wage negotiations go it’s a no brainer – just part of the claim for a raise – along with CPI increases, interest rates, fuel costs yaddah, yaddah, yaddah … get a life.

Laurie Short5:02 pm 30 May 06

The argument that pay parking is an industrial issue is bollocks – it only became one when the Government attempted to impose this absurd approach on all the car parking users at the hospital. I think you’ll find its a rare collective agreement that provides reimbursement for pay parking – I’m not even sure it is allowed under WorkChoices. What’s more its telling hospital workers that in their next agreement negotiations they will already be behind the eight ball. As for the medical students and others such as Red Cross employees the Government should hold its head in shame or walk away from this poor decision.

special G,

thats why you need to live within a certain area of the hospital you work at, why police escorts were offered for on call staff when the Soccer matches for the olympics in 2000 were held at Bruce Stadium, why emergency vehicle access is being built on the GDE for calvary and why traffic lights were also installed at Calvary. unnecessary delays including traffic all ads up. just like taxation bracket creep……..lol

Its an unnecessary delay that probably takes the same amount of time as stopping at a red light, or living one suburb further away from the hospital.

If what you say in your last comment is valid roccon doctors and nurses would be given blue and red flashy lights and emergency powers under the road rules to get there sooner.

In an emergency at the hospital there are other doctors and nurses there that can deal with it until the on call people arrive.

Big Al,

My point is that nurses, doctors shouldn’t face an unnecessary delay in arrivivng to work when “on call” every minute counts with peoples lives.

The National Gallery has installed a gate on their car parks to stop pubes from filling the visitor car-park. That gate opens at 9.45 or 10.00am.

Frankly, the way to deal with the parking problem at Woden hospital to ensure staff have easy access is to boomgate their section – easy, doesn’t cost a whole lot, and actually solves the problem. Since there’s an urgent need for them to be at the hospital in emergency situations, this kind of thing should absolutely be taken into account.

At the same time – pay parking is NOT anti-car zealotry. (long economics lecture follows)

Parking spaces are scare resources – there’s a limited number. Making them all free means that people will use a parking space in ways that may not be completely rational – a space will be occupied by whoever got their first, regardless of whether they have a more pressing need to be there or not. Making it cost money to remain in a parking space means that people think about why they need the space, and for how long they need it. Which means that, hopefully, people will get out of a parking space quicker, making a public good available to more people more often.

It’s called optimal use of scarce resources.

What interests me is that this whole parking debacle seems to have hinged on a desire to stop just one activity – those Woden workers who were using up car parking at TCH and precluding TCH staff from using those spots.

However, this appears to be anecdotal only and there has been no published data showing the extent of such usage.

Perhaps one day a Hospital executive found his/her spot taken and started on a vendetta?

I know that this discussion is about Hospital staff, exemptions and the like, but the inequities being imposed on patients, their families, carers and friends is what makes the parking proposals so moronic in the first place.

Dusty, I’ll keep that in mind, assuming that I am ever unfortunate enough to end up in a public hospital … but still think it’s a joke to suggest that pay parking is a genuine monetary barrier to participation in nursing as a vocation. Its about time hospital staff woke up, smelled the coffee and joined the real world.

Oh yeah! and Big Al, you’d better practise giving yourself bedbaths now, cos when you wind up in hospital there isn’t gonna be any nurses left to do it. They’ll all have either transferred into town somewhere to get away from shiftwork, or have retired (ACT nurses average age is 43 and rising). Anyway why should hospital staff suddenly pay for parking when the whole issue was instigated ‘cos Woden workers were using our facilities. Thanks a lot mate!

Roccon … gotta love your style. Hows this for a scenario then:

…. sorry I am late to deliver your baby… but I had to find my parking pass or sorry, couldn’t find any change etc…or we were out of free parking. Oh really, your solicitors will be in touch, negligence you say, well I guess its true that I couldn’t be arsed making the effort to get here on time.

Your lame protestations aside, you still haven’t presented a valid scenario for exemptions from pay parking that doesn’t have as its central premise convenience or cost to employees.

Not one of the people employed by the canberra hospital should get their parking subsidised by the government. Not when everyone else who works anywhere else has to pay their way. If you don’t think doctors, nurses and medical students should pay it at hospital, perhaps they should take that up with their workplace at the next round of wage and condition negotiations. But as long as the government is not making parking free to all people who are using it for work, then they should not be providing to anyone.

For once I agree with you Vic.

Vic Bitterman8:29 pm 29 May 06

You drive a car, you pay for rego, insurance and any other road-user charges. The latter includes parking fees.

You’re a student? Tough shit. Play your violin somewhere else as far as I am concerned.

Yep, and they rebargain for them with their employers… every four years in november :).

and to think all this debate…and the pollies receive that vital free car space.

Well it carries more weight that “Ari in the interwebs said and couldn’t back it up it so it must be true”.

And everybody subsidises our road network even people who only walk places, that’s how our tax system works, and it think a lot more of my taxes go towards roads (which granted have a small proportion of bus use) than go towards ACTION or bike paths.

If the piece of land that you park your car on has value (and it does otherwise no one would pay for any property), but the state is giving you exclusive use of that land for the day then it’s a benefit with a tangible financial value. If I tried to get my work to pay for a parking spot for me in civic I’d have to give up salary and it would count as part of my total remuneration, hence some one with a parking spot is getting paid more than me.

A politican said it, so it must be true, eh?

Everybody – including car drivers – subsidises the bike paths and ACTION buses, so it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that car drivers are “getting paid more” simply cos they get a parking spot.

So it comes down to your equalisation for “environmental” damage. And that’s social policy.

Ari, do you have anything to back that up? My understanding was that people who work in Woden were parking at TCH and there weren’t enough spots there for people who needed them (as that was what was stated at the time).

That being said I personally have no problem with a bit of equalisation from the pro-car free parking for all attitude, as a bus rider why should car drivers get effectively paid more than I do while damaging the environment and using up more public space.

Except that the driving force behind the decision is social policy – i.e. anti-car zealotry.

roccon, you’re talking about their work vehicles I’m talking about their way of getting to work, again another knowingly false comparison. If you’re a social worker and one of your clients has a psychotic episode you don’t get your parking paid for while you’re trying to talking him off the roof.

And what about people who work at the hospital but aren’t called in at odd hours to save peoples lives, say cleaners. Should they have to pay for parking when others don’t? Especially as they are some of the lowest paid people there.

But we’re getting way off the issue. My point is that the cost of parking at your workplace is an industrial issue and so should be dealt with in industrial negotiations, not though public policy.

but police, firemen, ambos drive work vehicles during work time and don’t get delayed by having to feed a meter before resucitating a patient, putting out a fire or stopping an armed hold up. my partner starts work at home when she gets a call saying “there is an emergency op, get in quick”

last time I checked choppers didn’t need to pay a parking permit to land a patient at TCH Woden either and I haven’t seen to many RFS trucks hit with a parking fee in Stromlo

Obviously by restricting yourself to the operating table or emergency department you’re not opening it up to any other options, but is look at other jobs that can saves peoples lives on a deadline [sic] (a lot of other peoples jobs save them indirectly).

Social workers
telephone councillors
Needle exchange
child welfare
Rescue choppers
Rural fire service
Australian Protective Services

And that’s just off the top of my head, I’m sure there’s more I haven’t thought of. Some of these people might currently get free parking, but it’s hardly a right of anyone who saves people’s lives.

Since the Govt. has been so enthusiastic in embracing user-pays for motorists driving to hospitals, when is it going to start tolling bike paths serving those same hospitals?

areaman, true lots of other jobs provide valuable community service, but how many have a deadline that consists of saving someones life on an operating table or emergency department.

roccon, no it’s not one is actually providing a community service the other is just the way some people who are providing one choose to arrive. That’s a trite simile and you know it. My two key points are :

1) there are plenty of people who provide vital community services who have to pay for parking, how is this different.

2) Why should people who don’t drive have to have an effective pay cut.


scenario…. sorry I am late to deliver your baby… but I had to find my parking pass or sorry, couldn’t find any change etc…or we were out of free parking. Its like asking an ambulance to pay for parking.

I’m not saying that any form of transport allowance should be hard to work, that’s why I’m suggesting something like monthly passes, but this is what pisses me off:

nor should they have to pay for parking when they provide such a valuable service to the community

Why the fuck not, a hell of a lot of people provide valuable services to the community and they have to pay for parking. If parking is so expensive then that should be taken into account as a part of any remuneration negotiation. It should be an issue between the employer and their employees not between the employees and the society that “owes” them for doing their job.

And again what about people who work at the hospital who don’t drive to work, why do they deserve an effective pay cut?

dusty, rumour has it that the free staff carpark will be the new one near the settling ponds at Calvary. When its full you will have to pay to park in the other carparks. its a pretty small carpark at the far end of the hospital. will the security staff be escorting nurses and other employees back to their cars at night ?

Exactly, roccon. To work shift work is not enough? You guys maybe need to try working a mix of night shift, day shift and evening shift, all in a 7 day roster to maybe understand. Hospitals are different from everywhere else, and cant be compared to office workers. They are a case in point providing 24 hr service to thousands of Canberrans 365 days per year. Its hard enough to supply staffing needs as it is without creating further disincentives.
And medical students are not included in staff numbers until they have completed their initial medical training. Neither are any students doing clinical at TCH. All ‘on call staff’ are always fully trained and employed (incl medical and nursing)so hence granted parking fee exemptions, medical students are not ever on-call, but there by prior arrangement only.

areaman, problem is, this is a hospital, not an office block. staff are called in at all wierd times, sometimes 8 times on a weekend for 3-4 hours at a time, once it was for 23 hours straight (my partner). Parking exemption should be simple and easy to administer for these people. You can’t expect staff to unscrub to feed a meter, nor should they have to pay for parking when they provide such a valuable service to the community.

Ari, I’m not going to get into a debate about pay parking at the hospitals. If we take it as given that we it exists then the issue becomes do these workers have a right to free parking? I’d say no, I know working in Civic I don’t have that right.

Now the counterpoint is that making people who work at the hospitals pay for parking when they didn’t have to in the past is forcing a pay cut on them, which is why they have a temporary exemption. Next time they renegotiate their pay deal the increased cost of parking can be discussed along with the rest of their conditions and remuneration.

The government has decided that car parks at the hospitals are a limited resource and do have a financial value so why is it fair that someone who drives to work gets that additional benefit on top of salary where as some one who catches a bus or rides in doesn’t? Wouldn’t a general transport allowance be fairer?

roccon, I’m not part of any remuneration bargaining committee, but the way I’d understand it might work is that there’d be a transport allowance built into the CA (like the health and wellbeing allowances that are in some CAs currently) and that could be used to to get reimbursement for parking passes (by the week or month or whatever, so as not to have to deal with lots of fiddly paper work), parking vouchers for those who didn’t park regularly, bus tickets or maybe even bike or car maintenance. Again it’s something they’d have to work out as part of the CA negotiations.

areaman, I don’t quite see how you concluded from the article that Katy was against exemptions for anyone. She simply bagged out the VMOs a bit for being well paid.

If it is Govt policy to reimburse workers for the fees, it sounds like a super-efficient way to cycle money from the health budget … through people’s pay packets … into a machine, with a chunk creamed off by the parking contractor … then back into consolidated revenue at a much reduced level.

Add in unecessary aggravation for the motorist at every step as a bonus.

Even then, I doubt anyone’s going to voluntarily discover the plusses of buses due to the ham-fisted coercion.

areaman, are you saying staff should have to feed money into a machine to park and get a reimbursement in their pay ? lets hope not.

Imagine this scenario….

scrambling for money when you are “on call” and have to be there at all hours of the day or night and unsure for how long your shift will go for is just plainly counterproductive.

Compound this with the fact cars are often broken into at Calvary as it is and that there is now a good chance people will have to carry notes and coins to feed into the parking machines, will just give petty thieves more incentive to break into vehicles for a few dollars.

From reading the article it looks liek she’s saying that no one should really have exemptions.

My understanding of the ALPs position is that the cost of parking should be built into certified agreements with hospital staff rather than them just being given blanket exemptions and that the exemptions were just an interim messure.

Plus, as prevously stated it’s not like student’s don’t have to pay to park at the ANU either.

No worries, Dusty, I’m not carrying a torch for the students.

But getting away from the merits of the students’ argument, it is perhaps a little strange that a minister would say the situation is inequitable, then refuse to do anything about it. Particularly when it would be administratively fairly simple.

Actually, on reflection, it is Katy Gallagher after all. So it’s not that strange she’s doing nothing.

OOps-sorry,I jumped to a conclusion there, apologies, however what I say, in general, still applies

Er … Dusty … I’m not a medical student.

I am one of the ‘tom, dick and harriets’ you kindly refer to in your post. I do slightly resent your rant on the following grounds:
1) Don’t have to pay to park when you are at Uni?
2) As a medical student, you are not an employee of TCH and therefore not eligible for staff priveledges till you become employed by ACT Health as an Intern
3) Have you not just had state of the art Uni Medical Training facilities opened at TCH?
4) Us ‘Tom, Dick and Harriets’ have had to battle to park our own cars for many years, the Nat Cap Private Hospital have been ‘allowed’ to squeeze into our staff parking areas, and Woden workers are well known to park’n’walk for years, meaning we have to get to work 1/2 hr prior to our shifts in order to get a staff car park, which basically only means theres a boomgate so we’re less likely to have our car stolen. Otherwise we have to park ‘on Hindmarsh’ and hoof it back in the dark at 9.30 pm.
5) Appreciate what you’ve been given (ie medical training) as you actually have been given a fine opportunity for advancement in your chosen career, and you must not forget that this experience is for your benefit, and that TCH dont owe you a thing as you are not yet a employable within the system. Sorry, keep working. Good luck with your clinical.

What are the chances that they will need to rip up the new carpark at Calvary (opened a few weeks ago) to install the parking machines that 75% of people will be exempt from using ????

What is going on with this govt. How much will this all cost to install ? I bloody well hope those exempt will get a sticker that can be easily moved to and from different cars. ie 2 car household with a single lane driveway, I aint moving cars around all the frickin time to get the one with the label to calvary or woden. We drive on a “whats first in the driveway” at home

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