The Property Council of Australia has put the issue of parking taxes on the election agenda by asking Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer to publicly rule out their introduction should the Government be re-elected.
The Property Council wrote to the Minister in May last year, expressing concern that a Department of Transport submission to a Parliamentary transport inquiry had flagged the introduction of parking taxes as a possible measure to raise the price of private transport.
The Department of Transport submission pointed to ‘hard travel demand management’ measures – a euphemism for parking taxes and access charges.
The Minister responded in June, but did not rule out parking taxes, saying only, “at this stage all options are being considered”.
Property Council executive director Ross Elliott said his organisation was concerned that the Government may have secret intentions to make use of parking taxes.
“We know that the Department of Transport favours the use of things like parking taxes to increase the price of car parking and hopefully force commuters to use public transport,” Mr Elliott said.
“But parking taxes do nothing to solve transport congestion, and only end up penalising small businesses and commuters who don’t have convenient access to public transport.”
Mr Elliott said parking taxes were introduced in Sydney some years ago, initially at $200 per CBD car space per year
“In Sydney, the parking taxes didn’t work so they doubled them to $400 and last year doubled them again to $800 per space per year, and also applied them to suburban locations at $400 per space per year. They still don’t work but have become a convenient source of revenue for the Government.”
Mr Elliott also questioned why a major Queensland Parliamentary transport inquiry, which had been due to report around mid 2000, had still failed to deliver its report.
The Inquiry had been Chaired by Nita Cunningham, now Minister for Local Government and Planning.
“We would like assurances that this report does not recommend the introduction of parking taxes or any form of travel demand management which takes a punitive approach to the private commuter,” Mr Elliott said.
“If the Government or the Department of Transport has been delaying the release of the report due to politically sensitive recommendations such as the introduction of a parking tax, then they would be guilty of hiding a major election issue from the public.
“If there is nothing to hide, they can immediately rule out parking taxes during the next term of government.”
The Property Council will shortly finalise a major transport report, which includes a series of recommendations for improving transport systems in and around the inner city particularly.
Ross Elliott, Executive Director, 3229 0666 or 0407 177 591