Tweed members hold local MP to free parking promise

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest is in hot water with local HSU members, after trying to back out of an election promise to ensure parking remains free at the new, yet-to-open Tweed Valley Hospital.

In just 9 months Mr Provest, who represents the National Party and whose self-assigned nickname is ‘Mr 100%’, has managed to perform a backflip on a promise that formed a central plank of his election platform.

Mr Provest offered an unequivocal ‘no’ to the question of parking fees in February, telling the Tweed Daily News “I have not heard of any adjacent land being offered or sold, we are going to have free parking here and we’re not closing the old hospital down.”

However, in October it was revealed that paid parking could very well still be on the table, meaning that the local member is either unwilling or unable to stand up for his constituents. And those constituents aren’t happy.

HSU members at the current Tweed Hospital have taken up the call, fighting for free parking not only for themselves, but for vulnerable members of the community who are accessing health services or visiting sick loved ones. Members have thrown their support behind a motion at a Tweed Shire Council meeting, calling for Mr Provest to be held to his promise.

“Across the state we’ve seen how excessive hospital parking fees have been used to cynically claw back money from workers, and to take advantage of people attending appointments or visiting sick family members,” said Gerard Hayes, HSU Secretary.

“Prior to the election, Geoff Provest clearly stated that parking at the new hospital would be free.

“That means free parking for 100 per cent of visitors, 100 per cent of workers, 100 per cent of the time.”

Federal Labor member for Richmond Justine Elliot was equally scathing about Provest’s awkward backflip.

“In a desperate act to hold his seat, Geoff Provest promised locals free parking for patients, visitors and staff at the new hospital.

“This is a complete betrayal of locals. Geoff Provest and the Nationals have once again lied to us, this time about free parking at the hospital. Our community deserves so much better than this,” she said.

Hospital parking – including the profiteering that the NSW Government allows to continue unchecked – is a deeply felt issue amongst HSU members and the community alike. As campaigns for fair parking unfold across the state, keep an ear out for actions in your area.