From Canberra Times 21 December 2014

A multimillion-dollar contract has been signed to put paid parking in central Canberra in a move that will affect thousands of commuters.

The decision is expected to generate almost $74 million in revenue over three years, but the Abbott government has so far snubbed the ACT’s appeal for some of the money to be reinvested directly in the Canberra community.

The National Capital Authority and the ACT government chose Duncan Solutions for the project.

On the last working day of the year for many people, the ACT announced the awarding of the contract for 300 machines for ”pay and park” to be used in off-street parking, including local shopping centres. While the NCA did not make an announcement, it is understood the authority has signed with the same company for 190 machines for national land in central Canberra.

By July, the ticket machines will control 9000 pay-parking spaces in four inner Canberra areas – the parliamentary triangle, Barton, Russell and Acton – in a move said to free up parking spaces at cultural institutions for visitors.

The average full-time worker will be slugged $2640 a year for parking in those areas.

The parking machines will take credit cards, ending the era of needing change for parking.

The territory’s machines will have contactless card readers installed that will allow the government to link the machines to the MyWay system in the future.

”However, the ‘tap and go’ functionality of the contactless readers will require some further implementation work, which is expected to be complete before mid-2014,” ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr said.

”The machines will also have a pay-by-phone payment option, which will provide increased flexibility for Canberrans.”

Mr Barr said 160 of the new machines would be solar-powered. The NCA said previously it wanted its 190 machines to be solar-powered.

The budget papers show the federal government would contribute $8.8 million to install the parking machines and upgrade car parks.

The contractor’s website says: ”Duncan Solutions is an Australian-owned company with 400 staff across operations in Australasia and North America.” Some of the machines being bought by the NCA will be coin-operated for the benefit of out-of-town visitors.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher wants part of the revenue to come back to Canberra.

Before the federal election, she wrote to then opposition leader Tony Abbott calling for a share of the revenue raised by paid parking on national land to be reinvested into the NCA or national institutions, reportedly without success.

Mr Barr said: ”We will continue to lobby the Commonwealth government to reinvest a portion of the revenue they receive back into the Canberra economy.”

The federal Labor government did not respond before the election to a report by a parliamentary committee into the lack of amenities in central Canberra.

The lack of shops and services in the precinct was given as a reason for public servants needing to take their cars to work.

The parliamentary committee said the NCA should be directed to develop a strategy for retail services and childcare in the parliamentary zone when paid parking is introduced.

It recommended a park-and-ride facility and that the Centenary Loop shuttle bus be made permanent.

However, the committee accepted that paid parking was a “useful strategy” for managing scarce parking space.

It conducted an inquiry into the ”provision of amenity within the parliamentary triangle” following the budget decision to charge for parking from July next year.

 

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