A YEAR 8 Moriah College student who suffers from a rare genetic disorder is taking his campaign for reduced hospital parking fees to the top echelons of government.
Gidon Goodman has been receiving treatment for Gaucher’s disease at the Sydney Children’s Hospital once a fortnight for the past decade and, in that time, his parents have been forced to pay more than $1000 every year to park their car at the facility.
The 13-year-old, who describes himself as “politically active”, told The AJN, “We’ve gone from paying $12 for two-and-a-half hours to $28. That’s more than other parking complexes in the same area. It’s just not regulated.”
After prices recently went up yet again, Goodman launched a petition on Change.org, in which he writes that parking fees cost the most vulnerable in society thousands to receive healthcare that is supposedly “free”, and that the money that is made goes, for the most part, straight to private companies, not to the hospital.
“Many families simply cannot afford to be late for lifesaving treatment and cannot find time to look for free parking in an extremely populated urban area situated right next to a university,” the petition states.
“Despite this, parking fees have gone up over the last five years at a ridiculous rate, which is forcing families to pay thousands and suffer the consequences.”
Goodman’s goal is to get hospital parking rates “dramatically reduced” so that families can go to hospital without worrying about the “crippling” price of parking. If necessary, he is prepared to go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is entitled to act if it can be proven that the parking company holds a monopoly.
The petition, which has surpassed its goal of 7500 supporters, will be sent to federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
“This whole thing wasn’t about us – we can afford to pay for the parking,” said Goodman. “It’s about the people who aren’t in a good financial position and can’t pay. And it’s not just about the Children’s Hospital – there are lots of people who can’t go to work because they have to be in the hospital and they have to pay to be there.
“This just shows that people do have a voice and that people will act to right wrongs.”