A debate has sprung up in Canberra over the past week about inconsistencies in parking areas in the heart of the city. Currently, parking in the ‘parliamentary zone’, the Commonwealth-controlled areas including Barton/Parkes and Russell Hill is free, whilst in areas outside it parking charges apply.
ACT Chief Minister, John Stanhope, claims that “existing arrangements are unfair to workers who are employed outside the Parliamentary zone, and inhibit sustainable transport policies”.
He said that the introduction of paid parking in the Parliamentary zone will help to create a level playing field for all Canberrans who use their cars for transport.
“If this initiative succeeds, it will not only make the parking situation more equitable all round – after all, commuters have to pay for all-day parking elsewhere in Canberra, including Civic and areas close to most of the town centres – it will also provide some incentive for Canberrans to look for alternative transport solutions, such as buses, riding a bike or car pooling.”
A joint federal-ACT taskforce is now reviewing parking arrangements in the area. But Liberal senator Gary Humphries has warned against introducing charges. He said workers in the parliamentary area lacked the range of public transport options that were available to commuters in Canberra’s town centres.
Property Council ACT executive director Catherine Carter urged the Federal Government yesterday to charge for parking in the Parliamentary Triangle and Russell, saying the free spaces were unfair and actually worsened traffic and parking problems.