Public servants abusing the Australian War Memorial's free car parks have been put on notice by director Brendan Nelson.
Dr Nelson will introduce four-hour parking limits at the institution within weeks, a crackdown to protect car spaces for visitors who often include veterans.
He told Senate budget estimates this week he would be asking the ACT government to help police the memorial's car parks.
He said bureaucrats were taking advantage of the memorial's car spaces, even before paid parking was introduced on national land in the parliamentary zone later this year.
"Parking should be at no cost to visitors at the memorial," Dr Nelson said. "We're intending to do everything we can to see parking remains as it is [free].
"It's a sensitive issue but it's particularly emotional for a proportion of people who come to the memorial.
"Almost every day we have veterans who come to the War Memorial who have never been there."
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A number of public servants park at the memorial and ride their bikes to work – and paid parking in other nearby areas was expected to prompt more bureaucrats to use the institution's car parks.
"My biggest concern is that by 7.30am or 8am the car parks will be filled, which will cause immense distress to people who frequently come very long distances to the memorial," Dr Nelson said.
"Almost every day, we have veterans who have never been there but want to come before they die."
The memorial estimated it would cost $1 million to install boom gates, perimeter fencing, barriers and ticket machines to quarantine parks for visitors and people who worked there but Dr Nelson said "clearly in this environment we're not in a position to do that".
"If our biggest fears are realised, we'll have no choice but to go back to plan and invest in major infrastructure for this," Dr Nelson told the hearing on Tuesday
The institution attracts more than 900,000 visitors a year. More than one in five visit for the first time and a small number arrive to research PhDs and family histories.
Temporary and permanent passes which go into windscreens will be given to memorial staff and contractors. They will also be given to 275 volunteers "without whom the memorial couldn't function".
The four-hour parking arrangements will start on July 1 and signs will be erected beforehand. At the moment, there are no time limits on any of its four car parks.
As of Thursday Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said the ACT government had not received a formal request from the War Memorial.
Mr Corbell said the government would be happy to assist with enforcement of parking regulations on national land as requested by the National Capital Authority (NCA).
The introduction of paid parking in the parliamentary triangle has been delayed until at least September as the National Capital Authority seeks to resolve a series of technical issues.