War veteran disappointed with decision to remove parking permits

Ardross resident Frank O'Neill.
Ardross resident Frank O'Neill.

A CITY of Melville administration decision to remove parking permits for Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) war veterans has left one of them floored.

The decision was made earlier this year, but Ardross resident and Vietnam War veteran Frank O’Neill (71) fronted the council last Tuesday to ask them to reverse the decision.

The council had been issuing the permits to allow the TPI veterans to park in City-owned bays for free.

TPI veterans are previous members of the military who during their service sustained an injury, illness or disease that means they are permanently unemployable.

Frank O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill said he went to the City offices in May to renew his permit after the council’s well publicised parking changes at Deep Water Point and the Riseley Centre and was told it was no longer available.

“I was very disappointed because it was a small token of appreciation, it was just a small monetary grant from the residents of Melville to show appreciate for our service,” he said.

“The City want TPI veterans to get ACROD stickers but we don’t want to take away from them.

“There was nothing wrong with the system and I’d like the council to go back to its original plans.”

City chief executive Marten Tieleman said officers had recommended the permits not be continued because the recipients could “use or apply for ACROD permits” to access free parking at council-controlled bays.

“As of July 1, 2019, through our fees and charges schedules, council made it possible for ACROD Permit holders to access free parking at all City controlled parking locations,” he said.

“We also engaged with the TPI association WA in regards to parking permits, some DVA TPI card holders are not members of the association and informed us of the annual fee they would have to pay to be a member, whereas there is no cost associated with permits from the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of Disabled (ACROD).”

TPI Association WA president John Kelly said the ACROD issue was a big bugbear for him.

“Not all TPI veterans are eligible for an ACROD sticker,” he said.

“I understand that the council is a business and it needs funds for upgrades to parking and these TPI permits cost money for them.

“I’m hoping out of the goodness of their heart they can reinstate it.

“The compensation that the TPI veterans get from the permit helps with the cost of living.”

Mr Kelly said City of Fremantle and City of Bunbury were the only two local governments who still hand out TPI permits.

Mr Tieleman said as part of the review process, the City engaged with the TPI Association WA branch, for several months, and also spoke with the Department Veteran Affairs (DVA) and ACROD.

“Letters were sent to approximately 12 City issued TPI permit holders in 2017-2018,” he said.

City statistics show there were only seven valid TPI permits issued by the City in 2017-18 compared to 43 in the 2005-2006 financial year.

More news from around Perth