The Auditor-General says paid parking in the ACT is a shambles.
The ACT government is failing in almost every aspect of its management of the territory's car parks, a new report has found.
Auditor-General Maxine Cooper's report says the city's car parks are losing at least $1 million a year because of faulty, outdated, coin-operated parking machines and unco-ordinated government oversight of the parking system.
The review also found the government had not produced proper documentation to justify regular rises in parking fees.
Among recommendations, Dr Cooper said the government needed to urgently accelerate upgrades to smart-meter technology and produce a plan that clearly set out its criteria for annual fee increases.
The report found that Justice and Community Services logged 13,416 complaints in 2011-12, or 36 a day, about faulty parking machines.
The Auditor-General said the government made 10,072 repairs to parking machines in one year as the devices buckled under the sheer volume of coins needed to keep up with rising parking fees.
Introduction of smart-meter technology had been delayed by the fragmented, shambolic management of the city's parking system, in which officials and departments did not communicate effectively and no one knew who was in charge.
Dr Cooper said actual revenue from parking operations had ''consistently fallen short'' of budget predictions and in the three years to 2011-12 was $8.5 million less than the $70.7 million forecast.
Management of Canberra's parking needs also met strong criticism, with the audit noting that parking demand surveys were so outdated government planners were relying on data that was several years old to guide parking development.
The report found the number of disabled parking spaces in the ACT might not meet national standards and that the number of disabled parking permits issued in the territory was double the number of Canberrans who identified in census data as having a disability.
The audit showed the government actually lost money - $67,000 - on a deal with the Woden Tradies to collect fees from the club's car park before it cancelled the agreement in February.
Dr Cooper said the territory was owed $7 million in unpaid parking fines, most from interstate drivers.
An average of 15 parking officers per day inspected Canberra's 56,000 known parking spaces, but the exact number of parking spaces inspected was not known because there was no definitive list of areas patrolled by parking inspectors.
Deputy Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said the report showed the government had little regard for parking as a core responsibility of
local government. ''It pretty much shows that the government has been neglecting parking as an issue from almost every aspect,'' Mr Coe said. ''The government has been treating parking as a revenue stream but not actually as a function of local government.''
The government promised last year to roll out smart-meter technology to territory car parks from 2014 but did not say on Thursday whether it was on track to meet that deadline.
Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell, one of three ministers with responsibilities related to parking, said the report identified a number of problems the government was already addressing.
''The Transport for Canberra policy provides an overarching and comprehensive framework for managing parking in the ACT,'' Mr Corbell said.
''The government is currently implementing measures for pay parking technology, including card and note-accepting technology and this work is ongoing. It is important to recognise that responsibility for parking spans a number of ACT government directorates.''