Discounts offered for online ticket purchases for the deeply unpopular introduction of pay parking in Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle have been thrown into question after documents released by the federal government appeared to put the up-front incentives on ice.
Addenda released for tender documents for the pay parking scheme’s ‘Online Permit and Ticketing Solution’ say that the National Capital Authority is “retracting” a discount of “approximately $2 per day for tickets purchased online” until a “fee policy is officially announced (either this week or next week).”
The move comes as anger within the public service mounts over the NCA’s tough stand to make tickets non-transferable between vehicles, forcing commuting families that alternate between two cars to pay more.
The federal government aims to raise around $73 million over forward estimates by introducing paid parking in parts of the national capital that include areas surrounding central agencies and the massive Department of Defence.
A key irritation is that the money raised by what has been dubbed a ‘parking tax’ on the public service will go straight to Treasury rather than the ACT Government which will in turn be forced to bolster public transport services, a move regarded by many locals as blatant cost shift.
Public servants have privately complained to Government News that the NCA’s pay-up front policy for a discount also creates an added financial benefit for the NCA because the authority gets to “sit on the float” for money transacted for parking that has not yet been consumed
It has been suggested that the push to encourage annual pre-purchasing of permits is an unnecessary gouge because the NCA could use automatic monthly payments to collect revenue to relieve families of the burden of having to stump-up more than $2000 in a single hit.
While the federal government could earn lucrative interest by banking the up-front payments, public servants with mortgage products such as offset accounts – where interest payable is reduced by holding cash-on-call against the principle – could lose out to the tune around $100 a year.
However as the public service backlash grows, the NCA has tacitly indicated that it could be willing to give some ground on the transferability of parking permits.
“Tickets are intended to be non-transferrable at this stage, however the NCA will consider alternate methods at a later date,” the tender documents said.
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