A doctor at Royal Melbourne Hospital has been slapped with a $99 parking fine after a long shift in the intensive care unit, prompting Melbourne City Council to expand its free permits for front-line workers.
Anaesthetic registrar Katarina Arandjelovic said she had worked 56 hours over four days and discovered the fine after she finished up at 10pm on Monday.
Dr Katarina Arandjelovic with the $99 parking fine.Credit:Katarina Arandjelovic
Premier Daniel Andrews said it was inappropriate to be fining hospital staff and that he would look into why parking inspectors were still working during stage four lockdown.
"I don't think that someone who's in there literally saving lives at considerable risk to themselves should be the subject of a parking ticket," he said on Tuesday.
"I don't think that's appropriate at all."
City of Melbourne has already handed out 9900 temporary free parking permits to front-line workers to help them get through the pandemic and will add another 5000 permits from Friday.
"We are printing thousands more green dashboard stickers to support front-line staff responding to the pandemic," lord mayor Sally Capp said on Tuesday afternoon.
"If you believe you got a ticket when you shouldn’t have, please get in touch with the City of Melbourne and we will follow up."
The permits are available to hospital workers in the City of Melbourne, Victoria Police and medical staff working in COVID-19 fields. Staff need to contact their employer to receive the pass.
The council said paid parking restrictions would still apply to ensure there was turnover and people could access essential services and small businesses.
"Vehicles parked in residential parking areas with red signs are still subject to restrictions," a spokeswoman said.
That includes parking bays with red signs for residential permits, loading zones, clearways and no-stopping areas. Parking spaces for people with a disability will also still be enforced.
Dr Arandjelovic said sending parking inspectors to Parkville in Melbourne's inner north would obviously catch out health workers.
"In lockdown, who do you think is parking in the streets by the hospital? It is the doctors, nurses, orderlies, pharmacists, physios, technicians, cleaners, cooks, ward clerks," Dr Arandjelovic wrote on Twitter.
"So when you send a parking inspector to Parkville, know that it is these people you are targeting.
"We cannot work from home. We come here, and we sweat it out under our gowns, our voices muffled under masks, learning to 'smile with our eyes' … We do not see our families for weeks."
Commercial car parks have been forced to shut as part of the stage four restrictions rolled out last week.
During Melbourne's first stage three lockdown earlier this year, the City of Melbourne stopped patrolling all parking spaces with green signs.
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