News

Commuter Car Parks Projects a missed opportunity

29 June 2021

 

Earlier this year the NGAA made a submission to the Auditor-General’s investigation into the Administration of Commuter Car Parks Projects within the Urban Congestion Fund. The allocation of funds for these projects had been a real concern for the NGAA as there was a distinct lack of transparent process or consultation.

The Auditor-General’s findings, released on 28 June, align with our submission – this was a missed opportunity to deliver much needed infrastructure for commuters in growth areas due to lack of planning, consultation and insufficient funding allocation.

Car parking around train stations is a key issue for many NGAA Members, but the distribution of funds was done without consultation, and left councils with half-funded projects that did not match their planned infrastructure priorities.

The report has found that:

  • the approach to assessing projects was not merit-based, nor informed by research, data or consultation with state and local government
  • none of the projects were selected by the Department of Infrastructure – all were approved either as election commitments or in exchanges between the (then) Minister for Infrastructure and the Prime Minister
  • 64 per cent of projects were located in Melbourne, notwithstanding that Infrastructure Australia has identified that the majority of the most congested roads in Australia are located in Sydney
  • the Melbourne projects were predominantly located towards the South-East, whereas data shows that Melbourne’s most congested roads in 2016, and as forecast in 2031, are predominantly in the North-West.

The Auditor-General has made a series of recommendations to the Department, but the risk of more of these sorts of decisions being made in the lead up to the next election is again high. That’s why the NGAA is running Commitment Watch during the next federal election campaign – so that we can track the promises made by the Government and Opposition and hold them to account in future.

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