Patients, staff and visitors to public hospitals across rural and regional NSW will not have to pay for parking under a re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said this delivered on the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s commitment to make life easier and more affordable for regional households, especially when it comes to healthcare.

“People in regional communities often travel longer distances as part of every day life including when they need to visit a hospital. The last thing patients, their loved ones and staff need is to carry the extra burden of forking out money to park when they arrive – especially when they don’t pay for parking elsewhere in that community,” Mr Toole said.

“Parking at many regional health services is already free. Under the NSW Liberals and Nationals, it will remain free and anywhere that is paid will revert to being free from July 1.

“With our record $11.9 billion investment in health infrastructure, we’re continuing to invest in the infrastructure that helps families access health care as close as possible to home.” Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said while it’s commonplace for Sydney residents to pay for parking, it’s a different story in regional NSW.

“While we are investing in more and more public transport in our regions, driving is often the only option for many when it comes to visiting our nearest and dearest in hospital,” Mrs Taylor said.

“That’s why the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government have announced a number of sensible, targeted initiatives that ease the specific cost of living pressures faced by people in rural and regional NSW.

“From establishing the $250 million Regional Seniors Travel Card to investing $149.5 million into the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), this Government is committed to easing the costs associated with travel in the regions.”

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said it was a commonsense move.

“It is great to be here today to announce not only that parking will be free at the new $723.3 million Tweed Valley Hospital, but at regional hospitals across the State,” Mr Provest said.

“I’ve been working to ensure parking at the new Tweed Valley Hospital is free before there were even shovels in the ground. With our wonderful new hospital on track to be open later this year, the community can take comfort that they won’t have to pay to park – whether they’re patients, staff or visitors.”