WOUNDED Aussie soldiers have won back their right to free parking in Melville.
The City of Melville stripped the veterans of their parking concession last year after a review revealed they’d been created without valid authority.
The change went under the radar until Vietnam veteran Frank O’Neill wrote to former mayor Russell Aubrey in June this year to complain about the change and lack of consultation.
Last month Mr O’Neill spearheaded a deputation to Melville’s agenda briefing forum, saying the change affected 200 totally and permanently incapacitated veterans who lived in the municipality. Mr O’Neill spent two years in Vietnam, and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder 30 years ago as a result of physical and psychological injuries he received.
He said the council’s position that TPI veterans could use ACROD parking bays was unfair.
“Many of us rely upon prescription medication to control our anxiety, depression and suicidality,” Mr O’Neill said in a later email to councillors.
“ACROD parking permits are primarily designed to allow those unfortunate to have lost mobility in limbs to participate in society.”
He said most veterans didn’t want to be taking up ACROD bays when they could still walk, but felt the free parking was a fair acknowledgement of the sacrifice they’d made for their country.
In light of Mr O’Neill’s deputation, Bull Creek-Leeming councillor Matthew Woodall successfully moved a motion at this week’s full council meeting for the city’s schedule of fees and charges to be amended, paving the way for the concession to be reinstated.
Cr Woodall said many TPI veterans already qualifying for ACROD parking, so giving free parking to the rest wasn’t a big hit on the city’s budget.
“They’ve served their country, they sustained an injury in combat; it seemed the common sense thing to do,” Cr Woodall said.
by STEVE GRANT