Timing of parking fees hike 'sneaky'
Sneaky ... The Liberals say the ACT government cynically kept higher parking charges from voters until after the election.
The ACT government stands accused of "sneakily" postponing unpopular parking fee increases until after October's ACT election.
The government announced on Friday afternoon that Canberra motorists would pay more than 12 per cent more in parking fees in some areas of the city from early next year.
But motorists in Civic - where prices will rise to $13.5 per day - were notified earlier in the year that the increases were scheduled to begin in early September.
The Justice and Community Safety Minister, Simon Corbell has refused to say why the price increases were delayed by four months.
The Canberra Liberals' transport spokesman, Alistair Coe, said the government cynically kept the higher charges from voters until after the election, fearing they would be used by the Liberals in their cost-of-living campaign.
However, Mr Corbell said the timing of the increases was at the minister's discretion.
All-day parking in government-owned car parks in Civic will increase from $12 to $13.50 a day, while short-stay, four-hour spots will cost $12.50 for four hours.
In the town centres, an all-day commuter park will cost $9 and a two-hour spot will be $3.
Making the announcement on Friday, the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate's executive director of city planning, Erin Brady, encouraged commuters to use park-and-ride facilities in the suburbs or catch the bus to work instead of driving.
Mr Coe said: "The government's delay of releasing more bad news for Canberra households until after the election when it was aware that it was planning this price hike, which is just more gouging of Canberrans.
"I think it does show why the government kept the cost of car parking out of the cost-of-living statement in the budget because they know that it has become significant and they know it's a fair chunk out of the average Canberran's weekly budget.
"Parking now costs well over $100 a fortnight and it shouldn't cost that much in Canberra.
"The government will say that it's cheaper to park here than in other capital cities but in 2008, it was $7.50 to park all day in Canberra and now, it's nearly double that."
Mr Coe rejected the notion that higher parking prices would encourage commuters on to public transport.
"Absolutely not," Mr Coe said.
"What's going to attract more people on to ACTION buses is by improving the service.
"In Melbourne's CBD, you can get all-day parking for less than $20.
"They don't need to price parking in the CBD to something like $40 to force people on to public transport in Melbourne because they have a good system.
"For the government to try to hide behind public transport is quite disingenuous when the fact is, this is just another cash grab."
Mr Corbell issued a statement through a spokesman.
"The timing of parking price determinations are at the discretion of the minister," the staffer said.