The NSW Government is being urged to introduce tougher penalties for people who assault council rangers after two parking officers were hospitalised this week following a vicious attack in Liverpool.
The Liverpool City Council rangers were attacked by the occupants of a white Subaru WRX Impreza at about 12.30pm on Tuesday 9 April while walking along the Norfolk Serviceway in Liverpool, with the perpetrators only fleeing after witnesses intervened and called the authorities.
Both rangers were taken to hospital with serious injuries, including one who required surgery because his jaw had been broken in two places and he had sustained significant dental damage.
The United Services Union, of which the two rangers are members, said the Berejiklian Government must introduce legislation to bring the penalties for attacks on parking rangers and other council officers into line with those for assaulting police officers.
USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly said tougher penalties would send a message that the community has zero tolerance for violence against people who are simply going about their jobs.
“This was a disgraceful and cowardly attack on two rangers who were just trying to do their job and serve the local community,” Mr Kelly said.
“Unfortunately, attacks like these are becoming all too common, with rangers at councils across the state suffering threats, abuse, and even violence while trying to go about their duty.
“The NSW Government needs to send a clear message to the community that there is zero tolerance for violence towards council officers, and the best way to do that is to legislate to bring the punishments in line with those for assaulting police.
“It shouldn’t matter whether someone is a police officer, a paramedic, a firefighter, or a parking ranger — anyone who is out there serving the community should have the strongest possible legal protection from violence and intimidation.”
Mr Kelly said he had spoken with Liverpool City Council CEO Kiersten Fishburn following the incident and that the union would be working with council and other stakeholders to help prevent future attacks.
“Thankfully, on this occasion there were community members who bravely intervened, preventing the attackers from causing even more serious injuries,” he said.
“We have also been informed that there is photographic and video evidence of assault, which we hope will assist the ongoing police investigation.
“But prevention is always better than a cure, which is why we need tough laws, stronger penalties, and ongoing promotion of the message that there is no tolerance for abuse, threats, or violence aimed to the men and women who carry out essential community services.”