News Virus doctor’s ‘pathetic’ parking fine scrapped after outcry

Virus doctor’s ‘pathetic’ parking fine scrapped after outcry

doctor parking ticket
Katarina Arandjelovic says she found the ticket on her car after working 56 hours in four days. Photo: TND
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The City of Melbourne has scrapped a parking fine for a doctor who worked 56 hours over just four days, and will hand out more permits to healthcare workers.

The council’s backdown came after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews promised to personally intervene after Royal Melbourne Hospital anaesthetics registrar Katarina Arandjelovic returned to her car to find the parking ticket.

Dr Arandjelovic, who has been working at the heart of Melbourne’s COVID response, sparked outrage when she posted a picture to social media.

“I worked 56 hours over four days in helping look after some of our state’s sickest patients. At 10pm last night, I left work to find a fine on my car dashboard,” she wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

In follow-up tweets, Dr Arandjelovic wrote that she had to drive to work because her bike had recently been stolen.

“Public transport is off-limits to prevent exposure to the virus, and transmission to colleagues and patients,” she wrote.

While Melbourne City Council offers free parking permits for frontline workers, she said they were “long gone”.

“There were too few to begin with. Many missed out,” Dr Arandjelovic said.

“In lockdown, who do you think is parking in the streets by the hospital? It is the doctors, nurses, orderlies, pharmacists, physios, technicians, cleaners, cooks, ward clerks. So when you send a parking inspector to Parkville, know that it is these people you are targeting.”

The tweet racked up thousands of retweets and replies, but the City of Melbourne was initially firm in its response:

A council spokesperson said that parking was “still subject to restrictions”, despite the pandemic, and recommended Dr Arandjelovic apply for one of the passes.

Many people responded to the City of Melbourne’s tweets, calling the answer “pathetic”.

A few hours later, the council apologised and withdrew the fine.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp also announced up to 5000 extra temporary parking permits would be available for frontline workers. About 8000 had already been provided to doctors and nurses, the council said.

Mr Andrews was asked about the ticket at his daily briefing on Tuesday, where he confirmed another 19 deaths and 331 new COVID cases in Victoria.

He said he didn’t agree with the ticket, and said he would look into it.

“I don’t think that someone who’s in there literally saving lives, at considerable risk to themselves, should be the subject of a parking ticket. I’ll follow that up,” he said.

During the pandemic, councils are still allowed to enforce parking restrictions when they relate to access and safety, such as vehicles in disabled parks without a permit or in no standing zones.