Give back rail car parks: Noreen Hay

Just days after the NSW government handed over 38 staff parking spaces to the public at Wollongong station, Noreen Hay wants them returned.

The Wollongong MP has cited issues of safety for staff members at night and also suggested the presence of asbestos in one parking area.

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced 1200 rail staff car parking spaces across the state would be handed over to the public.

On the South Coast, the tally was 98 spaces - 38 of which are at Wollongong station.

Of those, 32 are on the western side of the station and the rest on the eastern side.

The spaces on the western side come from the removal of gates on a fenced-in area of the car park.

Ms Hay said that forcing staff - especially those working night shifts - to park further way from the station placed them in danger.

"In talking to some of the guards, in particular some of the women, if they start their shift at 11pm and they can't get parks close to the station, then they're in quite a vulnerable situation walking to the station," she said.

"Others say that not every employer provides parking. Well, no, but they do have to provide a safe workplace and I do think the way these guards and drivers have been treated is absolutely shoddy."

Ms Hay also suggested that the overflow car park immediately south of this car park contained asbestos and lacked CCTV coverage.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has also opposed the parking space handover, with state secretary Alex Claussens saying it could result in trains running late.

"We can't have critical transport workers spending half an hour driving around looking for a car park when they need to be driving the next train," he said.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said the changes were made with safety in mind.

"Safety is our highest concern," the spokesman said.

"Both the safety of our staff and of our customers. The changes mean the same parking will be available to staff and customers."

The spokesman made no comment on the alleged presence of asbestos in the overflow car park but stated that "all work carried out across the network is done according to Sydney Trains' high safety standards".


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