The ACT government has shot down an opposition attempt for free parking on evenings and weekends, saying the "wilfully ignorant" motion ignored the fact parking was already free in most areas during these times.
Opposition business spokeswoman Leanne Castley moved a motion in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday afternoon that called for free parking in all town centres after 6pm and on weekends. The motion also called for public transport to be free during the same time periods.
The motion was put forward as an attempt to encourage more Canberrans into town centres and to support the night-time economy in these places.
Ms Castley's motion was completely rubbished by Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel who amended the entire motion to instead call for the ACT government to explore further opportunities for outdoor dining and COVID-safe public events.
Business minister Tara Cheyne slammed the motion, saying the majority of town centres had free parking after 5.30pm. She said the motion was "well intentioned but ill informed, if not willfully ignorant".
"The ACT does have a mix of parking arrangements to support different activity in different spaces," Ms Cheyne said.
"This motion is literally trying to claim a win for something that already exists."
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Ms Castley said her motion was about COVID recovery and the government needed to do more to support businesses. She said she spoke with businesses who supported the idea.
"I have to say, what a shame. If this Labor-Greens government supported small business they would have supported this motion," she said.
"All that I am asking for is that the government make it easy as possible for many Canberrans as we can to hit the town and spend their money in Canberra for the summer period."
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