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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 73


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bolkus)—Pursuant to standing order 166, I present the documents listed below which were presented to the President, Deputy President and temporary chairs of committees since the Senate last sat. In accordance with the terms of the standing order, the publication of the documents was authorised. In accordance with the usual practice and with the concurrence of the Senate I ask that the government response be incorporated in Hansard.

The list read as follows—

Government response to a parliamentary committee report

Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories--Report--Proposal for pay parking in the Parliamentary Zone (received on 23 November 2004)

Government documents

Department of Defence--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 22 November 2004)

Australian Sports Commission--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 23 November 2004)

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 23 November 2004)

Airservices Australia--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 23 November 2004)

Australian Tourist Commission--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 24 November 2004)

Payments System Board--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 26 November 2004)

National Competition Council--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 26 November 2004)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission--Annual report 2003-04 (received on 26 November 2004)

Report of the Auditor-General

Report no. 15 of 2004-05--Performance Audit--Financial Management of Special Appropriations (received on 23 November 2004)

Statement of ComplianceRelating to indexed lists of files

Department of Finance and Administration, Australian Electoral Commission, Commonwealth Grants Commission, ComSuper, Public Sector Superannuation Scheme Board, Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme Board (received on 26 November 2004)

The government response read as follows—

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE REPORT OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AND EXTERNAL TERRITORIES

NOT A TOWN CENTRE: THE PROPOSAL FOR PAY PARKING IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ZONE

November 2004

INTRODUCTION

The Parliamentary Zone includes some of Australia's most important legal, cultural and political institutions. However, parking issues in the area have long been a cause of concern. Problems include traffic congestion, a lack of available parking spaces, the isolation of the buildings from other services and facilities, and inadequate pedestrian access. An emerging issue is the need for more comprehensive security arrangements and the impact this might have on parking.

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has proposed the introduction of pay parking as a solution to some of these problems. Pay parking in the Zone has been under consideration since 1994 when the then Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (the Committee) inquired into a proposal from the then National Capital Planning Authority for the operation of a paid voucher system. The Committee's June 1994 report did not support pay parking.

Since then there has been consideration of the issue by the NCA, the Territories Minister and the Committee. After considering a June 2002 NCA submission which addressed issues arising from the NCA's March 2000 Parliamentary Zone Review Outcomes Report, the Committee resolved to hold a further inquiry into pay parking. The issue was formally referred to the Committee on 10 December 2002.

Committee's Report

On 13 October 2003 the Committee presented to Parliament its report Not a Town Centre: the Proposal for Pay Parking in the Parliamentary Zone.

The Committee noted that the Parliamentary Zone is unique and should not be treated in the same way as commercial centres. While it acknowledged the need for a strategy to alleviate parking problems, it found itself “in no better position to advise the Parliament on the idea of pay parking in the Parliamentary Zone than it was in at the outset of the inquiry”.

The Committee pointed to key concerns which it considered had not been adequately addressed in the NCA's proposal for pay parking. It noted that the Zone contains destinations of national cultural significance and is visited by large numbers of volunteers, tourists and students and the needs of these disparate groups have not been addressed. The fact that two jurisdictions (ACT/Commonwealth) operate side-by-side does not mean that parking policy will necessarily be complementary, and this also needs to be addressed.

The Committee did not give in-principle support for pay parking. Instead, it recommended that a further detailed study be undertaken by the NCA in conjunction with the ACT Government, and in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE

Recommendation 1

That the National Capital Authority—in collaboration with the ACT Government and in thorough consultation with all relevant stakeholders, preferably with their consensus—develop a detailed parking policy proposal for the Parliamentary Zone that recognises the isolation of the Zone from commercial facilities and clearly defines the following characteristics:

the infrastructure to be built—including the timeframe and funding arrangements;

the parking fees to be introduced—including provision to exclude visitors, volunteers and people with disabilities; and

contingencies should the Parliamentary Zone experience further encroachment of commuters from the adjacent Barton precinct.

Agree:

The Government acknowledges that the current parking arrangements in the Parliamentary Zone need to be improved. However, the Government has not made a decision about the introduction of pay parking in the Parliamentary Zone at this time. The Government therefore supports development of a detailed parking proposal which addresses all of the concerns raised by the Committee.

The Government considers it preferable that a seamless approach be adopted for the management of parking arrangements in the Parliamentary Zone and the surrounding areas. The recommended collaboration between the NCA and the ACT Government is therefore crucial to a successful outcome. The ACT Government has confirmed its willingness to continue to work closely with the NCA on this matter.

The Government supports the need for thorough, detailed, and responsive consultation by the NCA with all relevant stakeholders.