The NSW government has been accused of trying to hide a broken byelection promise, after it failed to deliver on plans for a 800-space, multi-storey car park at Wagga Base Hospital.
The promise was made in 2018 by Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who said the new facility would bring the hospital's total number of car spaces to 1200.
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However, when the final designs were approved in late February, the multi-storey car park only had 360 spaces. When combined with two separate at-grade parking areas, the total number of spaces is 900.
When asked to explain the discrepancy, a NSW Health Infrastructure spokeswoman said on-street parking around the hospital made up the shortfall.
"The 1200 car parks at the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital includes free-of-charge parking spaces around the campus, which is the on-street parking surrounding the hospital," she said.
Finding vacant street parking has long been a struggle for hospital workers, according to NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Wagga president Amit Gupta.
Mr Gupta said parking was so scarce that some of his colleagues had resorted to turning up to work an hour early just to secure a space at the hospital.
Those who cannot find a space on campus end up parking in the neighbouring streets, sometimes copping a fine when they overstay a two-hour restriction.
"It's a nightmare," Mr Gupta said. "There should be parking for nurses and the workers so that there is one less thing to worry about, and they can worry about patient care instead."
Member for Wagga Joe McGirr said he would be seeking an explanation from Brad Hazzard about why the numbers do not add up.
"The current proposal appears to fall short of the statements by the Health Minister at the time of the original announcement. And people are clearly upset," Dr McGirr said.
"The government needs to explain to the people of Wagga Wagga what is going on."
Wagga City Councillor Dan Hayes said he too is demanding answers, and has asked the opposition's health spokesman to question Mr Hazzard in the Parliament.
Cr Hayes said he wanted to know why the multi-storey car park ended up with less than half of the original spaces, saying the government had a responsibility to be more transparent.
"It feels like somewhere along the line they have decided not to follow through with their byelection promise and have hidden it in the design instead of coming out and telling the community what has happened," Cr Hayes said.
"You would accept a 10 per cent variance, 20 on a generous day, but not more than 50 per cent. I don't think that's fair or reasonable."
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