Page 2639 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015
get your money’s worth out of it and use it at every opportunity. The government needs to be very careful when it comes to these price points to not create a situation where they deter people from using public transport.
In this year’s budget parking fees continue to rise. For the first time the government has decided to introduce extended paid parking hours in the city. The government does not seem to care about people visiting the city who are not there for extravagant dinners. The facts are there so many people come to the city not because of choice, not because they are going to dinners, but because they have to. They have to go to a professional appointment—a physiotherapist or a doctor or a dentist. They have to go to various legal or other professional services. These people are being gouged by this government when it comes to the price and availability of parking.
The increase in the cost and the extension of the hours of paid parking is inextricably linked to light rail. Of course, this government is starved of revenue. At the time of running the territory’s largest ever budget deficit, this government committed to building the territory’s largest ever infrastructure project, albeit for one per cent of Canberra’s population during peak hours. This government need all the revenue they can get from Canberrans so they can afford to pay for Mr Corbell and Mr Rattenbury’s legacy project. However, increased parking charges are also required so light rail can record a marginal cost benefit of 1.2. The full business case released by the government last year stated:
The benefits anticipated in this business case are founded upon a number of assumptions. While such assumptions are realistic, actions shall be required by current and future Governments to ensure stated benefits are realised and maximised.
The business case continues:
A non-exhaustive list of factors wholly or partly within ACT Government’s control which may influence the recognition or maximisation of light rail benefits includes … parking charges;
The increase in hours and fees is inextricably linked to the light rail project. Of course, this government knows Canberrans are going to keep using their cars despite the fact that this government is driving up the cost of parking. Therefore, they are simply gouging Canberra motorists. (Second speaking period taken.) In gouging Canberra motorists, they are gouging the vast majority of Canberrans, because it is the vast majority of Canberrans that depend on parking on a daily basis.
The business case suggests that increasing parking charges will maximise the benefits of light rail. In their determination to proceed with light rail, the government is deliberately increasing parking charges well above inflation. Not only is the government increasing the paid parking hours but the recently revealed plan to close the Magistrates Court car park in the city for the construction of light rail will take away over 250 car parks in the city. People using the car park near the Magistrates Court to visit medical specialists, the courts and many other hospitality venues will be affected. The government seems to think that people can park at the Canberra Centre and walk to these places. However, Madam Speaker, as you would be well aware, this