The Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, the Hon Steven Miles MP, has finally pulled his head out of the sand after pressure from Member for Kawana, Jarrod Bleijie MP, and agreed to offer minor parking relief for some hospital staff at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
However, the apparent support is being labelled as a cruel hoax by Mr Bleijie, with conditions being placed so that only staff who provide direct care to infected patients in Intensive Care Units or dedicated COVID-19 wards, will be eligible.
Mr Bleijie said Minister Miles had been dragged kicking and screaming before finally making the admission.
“I first wrote to Minister Miles about this matter on the 31st March and requested the Palaszczuk Labor government extend its support during COVID-19 and provide free parking at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for all hospital staff,” he said.
“That was at the height of the pandemic in Queensland.
“Despite Minister Miles giving lip service to the media at that time, telling them he had already approached Exemplar Health about the issue, he never bothered to respond to my letter and didn’t lift a finger to make this happen or offer any support.”
Having not received a response from the Health Minister, Mr Bleijie submitted a Question on Notice in Parliament on 22nd April, which was finally answered on 22nd May by Minister Miles.
“Minister Miles only responded because he was forced to under Parliamentary rules,” Mr Bleiije said.
“For two months, when our hospital staff were at the peak of dealing with coronavirus patients and during the height of infections, he did absolutely nothing.
“Now, having been forced to respond, the Minister has agreed to provide parking relief but only for those specific hospital workers providing direct care to infected patients.
“This is a slap in the face for our health workers who have been under an enormous amount of pressure and who already struggle to afford car parking.
“The Minister failed to act, and now, in a demonstration of his contempt for SCUH hospital staff, has thrown some crumbs because he has been caught out.
“It’s too little, too late from the Palaszczuk government.