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Russell Offices staff threaten action over paid parking plan

Defence Headquarters in Russell.

Defence Headquarters in Russell. Photo: Archive

Staff at the Russell Offices could refuse to work outside standard business hours and some are planning to seek jobs at other Defence sites when paid parking is introduced.

Workers at the Russell defence complex who responded to an online union survey were overwhelming opposed to the introduction of paid parking without financial compensation.

The federal government plans to introduce fees for using public car parks in the Parliamentary Triangle, Barton, Russell and Acton. More than 500 Russell Offices staff participated in a survey by Professionals Australia, with 93 per cent saying that they were opposed to paid parking being introduced without compensation.

Staff wanted the issue raised in enterprise bargaining negotiations and most agreed compensation was also needed for military personnel who worked at Russell.

Professionals Australia ACT director David Smith said staff were unhappy at the claim that paid parking was needed to make it easier for tourists to visit national institutions.

''No one accessing the public institutions would do so by parking at Russell,'' Mr Smith said.

Respondents to the survey said that if paid parking was introduced they would be reluctant to work outside standard business hours because of poor evening public transport options.

One respondent wrote: ''The last bus to Gungahlin, where I live, is proposed to leave just after 7pm on weekdays. ''I have been required to work well past this time on many occasions so does this mean I have to pay almost $60 for a taxi?''

Mr Smith said his union would not wait until enterprise bargaining negotiations to raise the issue with management.

''We're seeking meetings with Defence before then to try and to get the issue resolved before it gets into bargaining,'' he said. ''Obviously this affects uniformed personnel as well as civilian personnel.''

Mr Smith said charging staff to park at Russell raised equity issues because there was free parking at other Defence sites in Canberra.

The department paid for staff car parks at Brindabella Park.

''There's going to be a whole issue with consistency,'' Mr Smith said.

83 comments

  • Get over it guys! I have to work between 3 different offices in Melbourne, at one, the parking is $5.50 per day, another is $8.90 per day and the 3rd is $16/day if you get early bird (City). If you get to two of them before around 7.45 you get free parking on the street with a 1.5km walk. You pay the rate on the day, you accept the conditions of where you work. Coffee at one place is closer to $3, at another its closer to $5, but hey, that's just how it is.

    Guess what, you pay what the rate is.
    Guess what, you don't whinge about inequity or unfair, or how it used to be free (I too had free parking in Canberra 20 years ago, but hey).
    Guess what, my SES has free parking but that's how it is.
    Guess what - reality check with the rest of the country. Even in Townsville and Hobart you pay for office parking.
    Sorry, but the perk of free parking is over. Canberra wants to be a grown up city, wants an "international airport" and to be a major capital - you take what goes with that. Sorry, but no sympathy on this one.

    Commenter
    Dismayed
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    January 14, 2014, 7:15AM
    • Thanks really, not interested in what interstate people think who are not affected.

      Commenter
      Robbo66
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 8:50AM
    • Robbo66 - that's a perfect reply and you are dead right, my apologies. Canberra IS "different" and "special" and should be different from other Capitals and normal workplaces. And those in Defence at Russell should have special dispensation on parking, compared with those who work at Belc, Woden, Tuggers, Civic, the airport,.....

      Although I did my 8 years there I shouldn't comment as an interstater.

      Commenter
      Dismayed
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 9:33AM
    • The whole, just because I pay it you should adage in this situation is just plain wrong. I understand about paid parking in the city centres, but Russell Offices??? They are in the middle of no-where, especially in relation to tourist spots, other than the bird on the end of the stick (can.t remember what it's called). I've lived in both Canberra and Melbourne and would be extremely annoyed at having to pay to park there, and other places which are never in high demand.
      To relate this to Melbourne, I work in Port Melbourne, I park for free every day, there is ample free street parking, I would be un-happy to say the least if I was forced to pay...

      Commenter
      Johnny
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 10:09AM
    • @dismayed - your argument seems to be that if other places have to put up with it, why shouldn't everyone else, which is a rather limited line of thought. The defence car parks only exist for personnel as no-one else goes there. It's a cynical cash grab and should be resisted. Everyone should pay far, far less for parking. Try thinking outside the box! Or maybe you just prefer the idea of making life difficult for other people just because they're public servants? God, no wonder we have the government we have.

      Commenter
      yumq
      Location
      cbr
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 10:13AM
    • @Robbo - you seem to be missing the point. My husband works there and when he is on call (every month - including Xmas day last year), he is frequently there until past midnight. I'm afraid that there are NO buses at that time, so, he would have no choice but to catch a taxi. If the offices were somewhere better served by public transport and/or they had a choice about whether or not to work past public transport cutoff times, my husband would be more than happy to pay up. But this isn't the case. It's the arbitrariness of the policy also. The attitude you express is more, "Well, I have to pay, so why shouldn't you!" That's such an incredibly selfish and narcissistic attitude and not relevant to the discussion at hand. The next step being talked about is introducing paid parking for staff at hospitals. Do you also think that is fair? What if you're a nurse who has the night shift? You have no choice if you work any kind of shift in Canberra BUT to drive, so in that way, unlike Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra IS different. No need to be a "hater" and use pejorative terms such as "special" - if you lived here for 8 years, you know how abysmal the public transport is. On the one hand, I'm sure some of us would like our country's defence to be monitored 24/7 - yes? No? Now, we want those who are tasked with that responsibility (outside of the normal hours most of us work), to pay for the privelege. How about some of the people on here stop with the, "Why should they get something if I don't!" mentality and just think about the practicality. For once.

      Commenter
      Jen
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 10:51AM
    • So, in your world it's perfectly acceptable for an employer to charge its employees for the privilege of coming to work? Wow, you're just a boss' wet dream, aren't you?

      Commenter
      Mad Uncle Bruno
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 11:25AM
    • @Jen - fascinating use of 'logic' there! One can only assume that your hubby drives to work when on call now, so how would paid parking "force" him to catch a taxi?

      If those people who monitor our defence systems were volunteers, then I would expect free parking to made available for them. However, those of us who are paid to go to work (and get shift allowances to compensate for the inconvenience) can expect to pay for their parking like everyone else does.

      Just because something has been "free" until now does not confer an entitlement to it.

      Commenter
      Robert
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 12:21PM
    • With you on this one Dismayed. You got to pay for parking in Alice Springs also! Wake up APS and get a grip on reality with the rest of us mere mortals. Suck it up

      Commenter
      Red Knight
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 12:46PM
    • About time people in CBR especially Russell found out what it is like to be in the real world.

      With an APS6 on >$84k then they really cannot complain about doing it hard. There are lots of jobs with a lot more responsibility and a lot less pay. As for the hundreds of EL1s and 2s who are on special projects etc well if you got rid of them then there would be lots of space.

      As for the huge amount of military and airforce personnel who are doing basic clerical jobs with a huge wage differential to APS staff well they too can afford to either pay for parking or use public transport.

      The car parks at Russell do not form part of the Defence facilities, however they have been used by Defence personnel for so long they believe it's their right.

      Welcome to the new world, you want something you pay.

      Commenter
      PH
      Location
      ex CBR
      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 10:35PM

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