Bosses tell triangle public servants they're on their own with parking fees

Bosses at key public service departments in Canberra's parliamentary triangle have told their workers they will get no help with the looming pay parking regime in the national precinct.

Tough luck: Finance workers at the John Gorton Building will not be getting any parking subsidies.
Tough luck: Finance workers at the John Gorton Building will not be getting any parking subsidies. Photo: Graham Tidy

And the Defence Department says it does not know how much fringe benefits tax it will have to pay on its subsidy scheme for its public servants and uniformed personnel.

The departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance and Treasury, who have several thousand public servants in the triangle, told The Canberra Times that they would do nothing to help out their workers when they are hit with daily parking fees of $12 from October 1.

Defence has told public servants and uniformed personnel working at its sprawling Anzac Park West and Russell office complexes that it will pay $8 of the $12 parking fee for an indefinite period.

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The next largest department in the triangle, Foreign Affairs and Trade, will allow its workers to enter a ballot and vie for the prize of one year's paid access to one of the car parks still controlled by DFAT after it loses exclusive use of hundreds of prime Barton spaces under the new regime.

But Finance has told its 1600 workers, most of whom commute to the the John Gorton Building in Parkes each day, that they will just have to suck up the new daily charges.

"Finance staff have been informed of the proposed pay parking arrangements to commence from 1 October 2014, consistent with information provided by the NCA," a spokeswoman said.

"Finance does not propose to implement any new arrangements for parking."

The Prime Minister and cabinet, which has about 700 staff working at its 1 National Circuit headquarters, says it might be able to do something with the "small number" of car parks that come with its building, but there will be no subsidies for the majority of its rank-and-filers.

"The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is reviewing its arrangements relating to the small number of car parks that exist on the department's premises," a spokesman said.

"PM&C does not intend to subsidise parking in public car parks for departmental staff when paid parking is introduced into the Parliamentary Triangle."

The Attorney-General's Department, which has nearly 1200 public servants next door to PM&C at National Circuit, did not respond to questions.

Treasury, which has the bulk of its 900 workers stationed at its Langton Crescent building in Parkes, said its staff have been told to log on to the National Capital Authority's website if they want to know more about parking their cars after October 1.

"Treasury staff have been informed of the new proposed pay parking arrangements to come into effect on 1 October 2014, referencing the NCA's website," a spokesman said.

The unlucky Environment Department staffers who share the John Gorton Building with Finance will also have to fend for themselves under the new parking rules, the department confirmed.

"The Department of the Environment has kept staff informed of updates provided by the National Capital Authority but has not put any other arrangements in place," a spokesman said.

Meantime, there is confusion over how much is to be spent on the Defence Department's subsidy scheme.

The department told Senate estimates in June that the it might cost $19 million to pay for its workforce to park under the new rules.

But last week a spokeswoman said the subsidies were expected to cost between $5 and $10 million each year.

Defence confirmed this week that there would also be a Fringe Benefits Tax liability on the subsidised car parks but could not say how much would need to be paid.

"It will be determined by a mix of factors including usage," a spokeswoman said.