Thousands of public servants at Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra will soon enter a lottery in a bid to win one of the department's precious car parking spaces.
DFAT bosses will resort to the unprecedented ballot system to allocate spaces each year after the department loses exclusive access to hundreds of prime spots in Barton on October 1.
Foreign Affairs staffers have had exclusive access to the car park on the corner of Brisbane Avenue and National Circuit for about 20 years, with a boom gate recently installed to keep out interlopers from other government agencies.
A security guard is on duty each morning to check IDs and smooth the flow of traffic.
But from October the car park will be open to anybody who has the $12 price of all-day parking, as part of the unpopular new regime of paid parking in and around the Parliamentary Triangle.
The move has forced the Foreign Affairs hierarchy to think outside the square and they have come up with a ballot for the remaining spots the department controls, which are mostly attached to its buildings.
But they will still have to pay.
"The department has a policy to transition staff to paid parking arrangements following the implementation of metered parking in the Parliamentary precinct," a spokesman said.
"The department foreshadowed the possible loss of exclusive access to the Brisbane Avenue car park to staff on July 18, 2014."
Available car-parking spaces beneath the RG Casey building and other DFAT-controlled buildings will be allocated to staff through an annual ballot with access (for which users will be charged) commencing on January 1.
"The number of parking spaces that will be allocated via the ballot is yet to be finalised."
Departments around the capital are struggling with the implications of the looming paid parking regime.
The Defence Department foreshadowed in June that it was considering paying some or even all of the expected $19 million annual parking bill that is to be imposed on its public servants and Canberra service personnel.
But Defence is not yet as organised as DFAT, with a spokesman telling The Canberra Times on Thursday that its staffers were still in the dark about their bosses' plans.
"The department will not be commenting on the matter until Defence Department employees have been properly advised," he said.