ACT News


Motorists in a fine mess after car park sold

The ACT government will withdraw thousands of dollars in fines issued to holders of long-term parking permits after a popular Woden car park was sold to private owners.

In the latest battle in Canberra's parking wars, fines were issued at the 226-space car park at Melrose Drive on Tuesday, with many public servants and other workers seemingly unaware their long-term permits were no longer accepted in the area.

But a statement from Justice and Community Services said warnings should have been issued in the first instance due to the change in parking arrangements.

The new private owner of the car park was made a parking authority in late May, new machines were installed last week, and the new parking arrangements came into effect on Tuesday.

Temporary signs placed around ticket machines in the facility flanked by the Tradies Club and nine-storey Aviation House warned users the car park was now privately operated and that ACT government prepaid tickets were no longer accepted.

“Parking Operations will continue to work with the new car park owners to ensure that motorists using this car park facility are apprised of the changes and that motorists have an opportunity to make other arrangements,” the statement said.


“Other ACT government car parking areas in Phillip are not affected and motorists with pre-paid parking permits should use those other areas.”

Fairfax Media observed dozens of infringement notices on cars around 5pm.

The site was sold to a private developer in April and construction of a 28-storey development is expected to begin within 12 months.

Worker Peter Holmick said he had parked at the site for more than seven years and believed the changes had not been adequately communicated to permit holders in recent days.

''All my colleagues who have long-term parking permits have been issued with fines and I am not impressed,'' he said.

''I have prepaid a three-month ticket from the ACT government. With three months of parking you don't bother going up to look at the sign every day, you just drive in and park where you always park.''

Mr Holmick said the $83 infringement notices should be waived until the changes could be better communicated to workers in the Woden Town Centre.

''I would imagine they will be getting a lot of complaints and I will certainly be speaking to a lot of my friends and suggesting we write together and try to get it overturned,'' he said.

Another worker who received a fine on Tuesday, but asked not to be named, said the situation amounted to ''daylight robbery''.

''There is clearly not enough signage for people to understand they need to pay now,'' she said.

''It is no wonder people are cynical about parking inspectors in Canberra when they think putting up a cardboard sign is sufficient warning.

''They are going to make a killing today.''

Last month Fairfax Media reported vandalism to about a dozen cars in nearby Haines Street, Curtin, used for parking by Woden-based workers.

The complaints come as the federal government prepares for the introduction of paid parking for about 9000 spaces around the parliamentary triangle.

with Hamish Boland-Rudder


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