Michelle Jaynes was shocked on Monday morning to see parking officers targeting cars parked around Centrelink in Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Michelle Jaynes was shocked on Monday morning to see parking officers targeting cars parked around Centrelink in Maroochydore. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

‘No need for it’: Centrelink parking patrols slammed

RESIDENTS have slammed the presence of council parking officers in streets around Centrelink just hours after hundreds were left jobless by the coronavirus shutdown.

Sunshine Coast Council parking officers were seen patrolling streets around the Maroochydore Centrelink office on Maud St on Monday morning.

The patrols were carried out just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement on Sunday night that pubs and clubs would close indefinitely and restaurants and cafes be restricted to takeaway only.

Nearby George St resident Michelle Jaynes, whose home overlooks the Centrelink office and surrounding streets, said she was "so flabbergasted" at what she was seeing, she forgot to even take a photo.

"People are queuing outside Centrelink from 7.30am," she said.

"I just thought the timing was so wrong."

The line-up at Maroochydore Centrelink.
The line-up at Maroochydore Centrelink.

She said others were stunned at the parking officers patrolling the area, and she had told one of them it was "unfair" what they were doing, as so many waited to try and sort out their futures after being left jobless by the shutdowns.

"It just wasn't the right time to do it," Ms Jaynes said.

She said she didn't think the council should be "chalking cars" at the moment, given the financial struggles of so many local residents.

"It's just unnecessary," she said.

"I just don't know what's wrong with them."

Others in the area at the time took to social media to praise Centrelink staff who had been inundated, but reportedly called the council and got the "parking police" removed that had been there "booking people".

A Sunshine Coast Council spokeswoman said it was "acutely aware" of the coronavirus impacts on residents, and it could "assure readers that no parking infringements were issued near Centrelink Maroochydore this week".

The spokeswoman said as part of the council's response to the pandemic, it had announced parking officers would issue "warnings instead of infringements" unless infringements related to public health and safety issues or unauthorised parking in disabled spaces.

The spokeswoman said only two parking infringements had been issued region-wide since Monday.



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