JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Auditor slams Canberra's car parking

Date

Lisa Cox and Noel Towell

The Auditor-General says paid parking in the ACT is a shambles.

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Maxine Cooper's report says the city's car parks are losing at least $1 million a year because of faulty, outdated, coin-operated parking machines and unco-ordinated government oversight of the parking system.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.

<i></i>

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of Canberra's parking needs also met strong criticism, with the audit noting that parking demand surveys were so outdated government planners were relying on data that was several years old to guide parking development.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.''

26 comments

  • I've created postcards for my interstate friends of the blue "pay here, pay parking" sign, as I think it's the most enduring and widespread symbol of our national capital. I suggest that the mammary turtle duck sky fail thingey would have better served the capital if it was instead a giant inflatable "pay here, pay parking" sign.

    Commenter
    muse
    Location
    Berra
    Date and time
    May 31, 2013, 8:03AM
    • So we were right! It is not, and has never been, a conspiracy! The complete opposite in fact!

      What will change as a result I wonder?

      Commenter
      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      May 31, 2013, 8:04AM
      • A lot of these problems would go away if Canberra had ample free parking where people work.

        Commenter
        Woz
        Location
        Civic
        Date and time
        May 31, 2013, 8:09AM
        • Woz - You think everything in life should be free don't you? And who is going to pay for the maintenance of the carparks? You think the tax payer should foot that bill?

          Commenter
          Adzz
          Location
          Canberra, Australia
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 9:07AM
        • Actually, these problems would multiply if we did that. Free parking is THE WORST idea. The issue here is not the fact that this parking is paid, the problem is that we have an illegible parking system; too many different rules and not enough information about how it works. It should cost to park, and it should be easy to understand how you pay. I would highly recommend you read "The High Cost of Free Parking" by Donald Shoup, to understand how utterly destructive free parking is for a city.

          Commenter
          Xavier
          Location
          Reid
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 9:41AM
        • Adzz, I don't know that the piece of dirt I park on and pay for, gets $9 a day's worth of maintenance, (~$1800 a year) in fact the onty maintenance on the whole carpark over the last 20 years seems to be the installation of parking machines.
          Xavier, Unfortunately the people who drive in from the outer suburbs and park on grass verges etc don't read arcane economic texts and I expect a lot of these people would not agree with you that it should cost to park. A lot of people can remember the times when there was ample free parking in Canberra and regard the imposition of parking fees as a blatant money grab by government and the loss of parking places as an increased inconvenience.
          There are lot more serious urban and transport planning issues in Canberra to be resolved, eg unban sprawl, public transport, before the city government treats the symptoms not the disease.

          Commenter
          Woz
          Location
          Civic
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 10:45AM
        • Woz, if only you actually grasped that free parking is one of the key drivers of urban sprawl in Australia - leading to inflated land prices and extremely unproductive use of land. You choose to live a long distance from your workplace. You do not have a right to a free park at the end of your drive to work; this is the tragedy of the false commons. A lot of people can remember the times when there was ample free parking, of course, but populations grow and all free parking does is cause full car-parks. Pricing manages demand and encourages people who can choose not to drive to work to actually make the choice not to - leaving the car parks free for people who actually need them. Parking revenue also allows for improvements in public transport/public realm/amenity. Moreover, priced parking gets people out of their cars onto buses, necessitating the improvement of those services. Priced parking is not a money grab, or a revenue grab. It is key economic tool for managing demand on the land transport network. But, of course, if you read Shoup's book, you'd understand these central fallacies to your rhetoric.

          Commenter
          Xavier
          Location
          Reid
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 11:15AM
        • Agree with Woz. Make it free and long stay on the edge of CBD precincts (ie. Civic, Belco, Woden, Tuggers) for the daily commuters and have free timed parking which is stringently enforced in the inner CBD locations for the shoppers / visitors. How hard can it be? Have to face it that we are a car culture and it ain't going anywhere soon - the fuel might change but the transport mode won't.

          Commenter
          MrRight
          Location
          Lismore
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 11:46AM
      • I refuse to visit the Arboretum ever again after taking intertate vistors there one weekend and then being slugged $2 an hour to park in a dirt car park. We were choking on and covered in dust to and from our car and vowed never to return.

        Commenter
        Another Grumpyoldfart
        Date and time
        May 31, 2013, 8:11AM
        • Hey Grumpyoldfart, if the area had been built as an International standard motorsport facilty as it should have and not an uninsurable tree farm tribute to Stanhope and Mackay the parking area would have been hot mixed.

          Commenter
          OLD DOG
          Location
          ACT
          Date and time
          May 31, 2013, 9:07AM

      More comments

      Comments are now closed

      Related Coverage

      Featured advertisers

      Special offers

      Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo