The Canberra Liberals want a comprehensive car parking plan to go with the new floodlights at Manuka Oval.
More than $17,000 in parking fines were handed out in the Manuka area during Australia’s sell-out day-night game this month against the West Indies as thousands of fans brought their cars to the game and hundreds parked them illegally.
Opposition sport spokesman Steve Doszpot told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that the fines were the result of a lack of a comprehensive parking plan for the stadium precinct on big games day.
But the government hit back, pointing out that a parking plan was available to fans before the game and that free bus travel to Manuka was provided.
Mr Dozspot said the parking performance on the day had been “almost Fawlty Towers-like”.
“The government was aware well in advance of the crowds that were expected to attend the recent international cricket matches at Manuka Oval, but yet no simple parking plans were put in place,” the Liberal frontbencher said.
“In fact the government’s only plan was to bring in additional parking inspectors to book cars that were parked contrary to current regulations.
“For an oval where several million dollars have just been spent for lights and to provide seating, it seems almost Fawlty Towers-like to not have worked out a better parking plan than free buses and extra parking inspectors,”
Mr Doszpot was dismissive of the free bus trips provided for the cricket fans.
“It was a commendable initiative but surely there was not any belief in government that it would alleviate the parking problems,” he said.
Attorney General Simon Corbell said a parking plan had been widely available before the game.
“A traffic-and-parking management strategy was developed and implemented,” he said.
“This was to ensure that people knew where to park safely.
“There over 7,500 legal parking spaces within a kilometre of Manuka Oval.”
Mr Corbell said it was the equivalent of the Melbourne Cricket Ground offering 80,000 car spaces within walking distance of the venue.
“The government put in place an extensive program to provide clear information to patron attending the event and to give them good transport choices,” the minister said.
“The information on parking and travel choices was publicised through the Manuka Oval website, through the ACTION Buses website, Canberra Connect and there were items in the local media.”
Mr Corbell said there were also free shuttles operating between Woden and Civic interchanges, park-and-ride space available at other centres and waivers were offered on time limited parking spaces in the stadium precinct on the day of the one day international.
“This is an issue as much around behaviour change as it is around concerns around parking,” he told the chamber.
“For any large-scale event, there comes a time when you cannot provide car parking within 20 metres of the front gate, it can’t be done of an inner-city stadium like Manuka and it’s not done for any other inner-city stadium around the country or around the world.”