Free parking ... Vehicles in the open car park between the National Library and the shore of Lake Burley-Griffin. Photo: Graham Tidy
Almost all government workplaces affected by the decision to charge for parking in the Parliamentary Triangle oppose it, though they're unlikely to say so.
Public servants cannot criticise government policies; their public comments must be limited to matters of administration.
However, agencies' submissions to the National Capital Authority before this week's paid-parking announcement show they believe the fees won't stop commuters from driving and are an unfair impost on staff.
The Attorney-General's Department and the Finance Department offered the only submissions that did not explicitly criticise paid parking, though the former warned against high fees.
Even the Environment Department, which is known for encouraging its employees at the John Gorton Building to cycle and bus to work, says it would prefer that staff freely choose to do this rather than be forced to ''due to financial necessity''.
The decision to charge for parking from July 1 next year is likely to affect about 20,000 federal public servants who work in the parliamentary precinct, Russell and Acton.
Many government departments and agencies gave their views to the joint ACT-Commonwealth taskforce that investigated parking options in the triangle in 2010.
The most common complaint was the lack of amenities in the area, such as shops, and ACTION Buses' lack of services outside business hours.
The Finance Department said that, even in peak hours, its staff sometimes waited ''up to 33 minutes'' between services. ''The [taskforce] needs to articulate a strong view regarding the availability of peak-hour bus services.''
Finance, which owns and manages some of the land on which commuters now park, warned it was ''considering the implications of continued permissive use of its development sites for free parking''.
The Foreign Affairs Department said parking problems were a matter of ''considerable interest to staff'' and were regularly discussed in employee forums. It said many of its employees worked irregular hours.
''A car is vital for many staff members who need to maximise their use of time and meet the ordinary demands of living and working in Canberra.''
The department did ''not consider the introduction of pay parking will do anything to relieve the shortage of spaces in Barton/Parkes'' and was ''opposed to staff being subject to an unfair impost through the introduction of pay parking, which would have an inequitable impact''.
''Parkes/Barton is considerably lacking in amenities to meet daily needs, and pay parking will understandably be seen by staff as little more than government revenue raising - taxing individuals and agencies for the privilege of driving to and parking at work.''
The federal police said it promoted the use of bikes and buses and had installed 40 showers, more than 1000 lockers and storage for 300 bicycles.
Yet it did ''not consider the introduction of pay parking in isolation will resolve the parking issue''.
''The lack of services in Barton may result in staff having to pay for parking twice, once at work and again when travelling to essential services. Therefore the full introduction of pay parking in Barton could effectively penalise staff requiring access to these services,'' the law-enforcement agency said.
The Broadband Department also voiced concerns, saying it preferred ''parking-management options that do not involve payment''. It suggested building more car parks instead.
The Environment Department said there was ''too much emphasis on pay parking being a solution to encourage modal shift''.
''Although pay parking may be inevitable in some form, [the department] would prefer ... travellers were encouraged to change transport mode based on individual circumstances rather than change the way they travel due to financial necessity.''
All other submissions from affected government agencies opposed paid parking.
The non-government National Trusts was a lonely voice that ''strongly supports pay parking at an equivalent level to other pay-parking areas''.