The NSW mini-budget has been much publicised (and criticised!) since its release on November 11. But what does it really mean for the parking industry and the local councils around Inner Sydney?
There is the obvious increase in the Harbour Bridge and Tunnel tolls in ‘peak’ periods from $3 to $4 – between 6.30am and 9.30am in the mornings and 4pm and 7pm in the evenings. Whilst the idea of a “congestion tax” has its merits in trying to spread the load on our roads, it is yet to be proven that employees have indeed the choice of flexible working hours in their workplaces.
Furthermore, not all drivers crossing the toll collection points are bound for the City and therefore the tax is not being applied at the right location. Not to mention the fact of course that the tax affects only that part of the population living in the Northern suburbs!
But of much greater significance is the increased cost of parking levies in Sydney’s CBD and other major business districts and which apply to off-street, non-residential parking spaces. An exemption exists for retail spaces in the suburban areas.
From July 2009 eligible parking spaces in Bondi Junction, Parramatta, St Leonards and Chatswood will be taxed at an annual levy of $710, up from $470. Those in the CBD, North Sydney and Milsons Point will be levied at $2,000, up from $950. In the latter case this means an increase of $4.20 per space per day!
So what does this mean for our industry?
Parking operators in these areas will be faced with the option of trying to pass this increase (fully or partially) on to their customers in an already difficult financial market or having to absorb the increase and therefore erode their margins. Property owners will also be impacted as new leases are negotiated at lower levels than before with potentially negative effects on the value of their assets.
Most importantly, there will be no benefit to the public as it is unlikely that any of the expected revenues raised by the Government from this “Levy” (but more correctly “Tax”) will in fact be used to provide more/improved public transport. The public therefore face increased parking prices with no alternative means of getting to and from work.
Ominously, should these increases proceed unchallenged there is the likelihood that other States will follow suit.