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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 454

Mr Morris asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 22 May 1980:

(1)   Did the 1977-78 Annual Report of his Department advise that pay parking at Canberra airport, Australian Capital Territory, was to be introduced in 1978-79; if so, why was the introduction of pay parking there delayed until 16 June 1980.

(2)   Were the only major administrative problems involved the (a) purchase of parking voucher dispensing machines and (b) declaration of the parking areas as pay parking areas.

(3)   Is the long-term parking area situated on the other side of the access road from the terminal areas at Canberra airport to remain free while other airports within Australia charge for similar parking areas at a greater distance from the terminal area; if so, why.

(4)   Is the supervision of the pay parking area to be performed by traffic officers of his Department as a part of their overall duties, or is there to be a continuous patrol of the pay parking area.

(5)   Did the Business and Property Section of his Department and/or the Bureau of Transport Economics examine the economic feasibility of going to public tender to operate the pay parking concession by private enterprise; if so, what were the criteria by which the Department decided to use its own traffic officers.

(6)   If Departmental Traffic Officers are to operate pay parking at Canberra Airport, does this herald a change in Government policy in that in future all pay parking areas on Commonwealth airports will be operated by Departmental Traffic Officers.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) The reference to the introduction of pay parking at Canberra airport in the 1977-78 Annual Report of the Department of Transport was based on approval in principle in June 1978 of a boom gate control system to be operated by a private concessionaire.

Subsequent investigation disclosed that the system . proposed would not be viable at Canberra airport and an alternative control system utilising either parking meters or voucher dispensing machines was decided upon. Study of these alternatives was suspended early in 1979 because of the implications of plans to re-develop and expand the terminal building and car parking areas at Canberra airport.

Consideration of pay parking was resumed later in 1979. In view of the need to preserve terminal development options, it was decided that control of pay parking should be by voucher dispensing machines supervised by departmental officers. As such a system had not previously been utilised at Australian airports, a number of legal questions concerning the provisions of the Airports (Surface Traffic) Act 1960 had to be resolved before the plan could be implemented.

Tenders were called in September 1979, and orders for three machines were placed in February 1980; the machines were delivered on 21 April 1980.

(3)   The primary objective in introducing pay parking at Canberra airport, pending a decision on future terminal requirements, was to reduce traffic congestion in the terminal forecourt area. It was decided that the cost of work necessary to provide appropriate facilities on the southern side of Ulinga Place would not be justified at this stage.

Declaration of the areas as pay parking areas is not a major administrative problem.

(4)   Supervision of the parking area will be effected on the same basis as that employed at other airports where parking is controlled by meters,' and it is being undertaken by departmental traffic officers as part of their normal duties.

(5)   The major reasons for adopting the present system were the Department's inability to guarantee a fixed tenure to a concessionaire over the terminal forecourt area, and traffic flow problems associated with the installation of a boom gate control system in that area.

(6)   No.

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