Mum hit with fine for birth going too long
Labour of love turns into a bureaucratic nightmare
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.