Fury as hospitals caught in parking gouge
NEWS that Melbourne's public hospitals raked in a combined $45 million in profits last year from car parking fees has been met with anger from the Victoria's opposition and the community sector.
The Herald Sun on Monday revealed nine of the city's hospitals, including St Vincent's and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, took home a whopping combined profit thanks in part to a surge in the cost of parking for patients and their families.
The Royal Children's Hospital collected $10.3 million in profit in 2017, according to the report.
The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) called the gouging of patients "mean" and a "genuine scandal".
"The hospital parking gouge is a genuine scandal. As somebody who's spent years visiting people in hospitals, it represents a tax on the families and friends of people who are sick and dying," VCOSS communications manager Ryan Sheales tweeted.
The hospital parking gouge is a genuine scandal. As somebody who’s spent years visiting people in hospitals, it represents a tax on the families and friends of people who are sick or dying. It’s mean. https://t.co/EZsh8r280B— Ryan Sheales (@RyanSheales) September 30, 2018
Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge, wrote that the news represents a failure of the Labor Government.
"Daniel Andrews promised in 2015 he would fix the cost of hospital parking and he has dismally failed," she said.
Members of the public responded angrily, too. Mark Clarkson wrote on Twitter: "$35 a day is not car parking - it is 'car jacking'."
The Herald Sun analysis revealed that profits spiked 25 per cent since 2015 when Mr Andrews promised to fix the problem.
A News Corp investigation in 2016 revealed NSW hospitals were also raking in significant profits.
The report revealed that hospital parking in NSW had soared by 37 per cent to $38.7 million over three years. The Sydney Eye Hospital was charging the highest car parking fees in the country at $64 for six hours.
A change.org petition calling for "free parking for families" at Australian public hospitals has been signed more than 84,000 times.