Free parking will become a thing of the past for public servants in the parliamentary triangle. Photo: Ryan Osland
The era of free car parking for public servants in Canberra is over, no matter the part of the city in which they work.
Tens of thousands of bureaucrats will soon be paying parking fees in the parliamentary triangle for the first time, losing their decades-old privilege of free, plentiful parking.
And the giant Department of Human Services has introduced pay parking around its Tuggeranong offices, 20 kilometres south of the triangle; DHS says it must charge its workers $14 a week for parks they previously enjoyed free or face being hit with fringe benefits tax on the parking perk.
Some departments in the triangle are now considering hitting their senior bosses' hip pockets for what is a traditional senior executive service privilege: the reserved car space.
A Human Services spokeswoman confirmed the department's 4800 Tuggeranong-based workers were now paying for their car parking to avoid the tax liability.
''It was introduced because an increase in local parking fees caused the department to incur a fringe benefit tax liability on free parking spaces provided to staff,'' the spokeswoman said.
''FBT is not payable on short-term visitor parking, disability parking and motorcycle parking.
''The cost is $2.80 per day or $14 per week.''
The department's 1800 parking spaces will be open only for its s public servants, and the new parking regime will be enforced internally.
''These car parks are only available to departmental staff by swiping their access cards. The system is monitored internally by the department.''
In the city's north, it will be business as usual for Belconnen-based public servants at the Immigration Department who do not get work-provided car parks and must use the pay parking at the nearby Westfield shopping centre.
In the parliamentary triangle, departments are bracing for the introduction of pay parking; the Environment Department says it is considering charging its top executives for their parking spaces to avoid the tax liability.
''The Department for the Environment has very few car parks provided to employees other than senior executive staff. In respect to these car parks, the department has not made any decision on charging staff for parking,'' a spokeswoman said.
Across the lake at Russell, Defence Department public servants and their military colleagues will also be hit with charges to use the area's car park.
But a spokeswoman refused to provide details about how the change would be managed.
''Defence is still working through the implications of the implementation of paid parking in the Russell precinct,'' she said.
The Education Department said it had been charging its Civic-based staff for parking for years.
''The department has provided parking for staff for several years.
''Staff pay for the parking spaces and these funds are used to offset the leasing costs. The car parks are not available to the public.''