Posted: 10:00 am on 22nd July 2014

car parkThe federal government’s decision to introduce paid parking for public servants around Canberra has been met with hostility since it was announced. At first, only the public service was upset. In coming months, it might be the rest of the country seeing red.

The original installation and maintenance of the parking meters cost the Australian taxpayer over $2 million. Now it turns out the real cost of the project might be much higher.

This is because it is not yet clear if the public servants are going to pay their own parking costs, or if their departments will, or if there will be some other arrangement.

If the public servants are forced to pay for their own parking (what an idea), The Canberra Times estimates they would need a $4000 pay rise from the Australian taxpayer this year just to cover those costs. And you can be sure they’ll be asking for it at a time when many public service enterprise agreements are still up for renegotiation.

The alternative would be for each department to cover the cost of their employees’ parking. However, this would count as a fringe benefit and thus would increase the amount of tax each (taxpayer-funded) department would need to pay.

Either way, the taxpayer will have to stump up.

There may yet be a magical Third Way that does not cost the Australian taxpayer a cent. But it’s not looking good.

William Shrubb, Research Assistant

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