Mum hit with fine for birth go­ing too long

Labour of love turns into a bu­reau­cratic night­mare

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - LABOR LEADERSHIP -

JESS Brooks had been in labour for 21 hours but, as far as the park­ing of­fi­cer was con­cerned, giv­ing birth is no ex­cuse for not mov­ing your car.

And when the new fam­ily ap­pealed to Rev­enue NSW, think­ing the mat­ter would be eas­ily cleared up, the pen­push­ers ruled the $112 park­ing fine was en­tirely jus­ti­fied.

Only when The Sun­day Tele­graph be­gan ask­ing ques­tions did they dis­cover that, af­ter all, it was a valid rea­son.

The bu­reau­cratic night­mare be­gan when Jess Brooks and her part­ner parked at her mother’s New­town house, where they dropped off their four-year-old daugh­ter be­fore head­ing to Royal Prince Al­fred Hos­pi­tal for a sched­uled in­duced labour.

But the labour went longer than ex­pected, with com­pli­ca­tions, and baby Al­fie wasn’t born un­til 21 hours af­ter her wa­ters broke, at 3am.

“We didn’t get up to the ward un­til 8am so we had both been awake for 30 hours and it slipped our minds,” the 33year-old said. “By the time we re­mem­bered the car it was just af­ter mid­day and it was too late, the fine was is­sued at 11.56am.”

Ms Brooks’ mother Ni­co­lette even left a note on the wind­screen ex­plain­ing the par­ents were stuck at the hos­pi­tal with the car keys.

“She told them we had the keys with us in the labour ward so she was un­able to put a new guest park­ing pass in the car and the one from the day be­fore was still on the dash,” Ms Brooks said.

“We ap­pealed the fine in writ­ing and pro­vided proof of birth but the ap­peal was un­suc­cess­ful. It seems out­ra­geous to me.”

In a let­ter to Ms Brooks, NSW Rev­enue wrote: “Our in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­clude the penalty still ap­plies.”

“I was shocked labour was not con­sid­ered a le­git­i­mate cause for le­niency,” Ms Brooks said.

But af­ter in­quiries from The Sun­day Tele­graph the de­part­ment is­sued an apol­ogy and dropped the fine.

“Rev­enue NSW con­tacted the au­tho­rised rep­re­sen­ta­tive to ad­vise of the re­trac­tion and apol­o­gise for the in­con­ve­nience and con­cern caused,” it wrote.

“I’m pleased but sur­prised it took this for them to see rea­son,” Ms Brooks said.

Jess Brooks left a 24hour park­ing pass on her ve­hi­cle but a long and dif­fi­cult labour to de­liver Al­fie re­sulted in a $112 park­ing fine.

The fine.

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