Ms SANDERSON (Adelaide) ( 17:35 ):
I would like to put on the record some of the testimonials that I have been receiving from residents, business owners and people throughout the city who are affected by the proposed car parking tax. The first resident lives at the UNO apartments and does not have a car. The UNO apartments were approved and built with only 36 car parks for 146 apartments. As she does not have street frontage, she is not entitled to a parking permit from council.
This lady requires a car due to her disability, which makes walking difficult. Public transport is not available on her street and she needs a car to get to appointments. Due to her only income being the disability pension, she is already having difficulty paying for parking in the city and feels the extra $750 will make it impossible, and thus make her feel even more isolated. We have another city resident who has lived in apartments on North Terrace for some 10 years who writes:
…please oppose the car park tax legislation.
As my apartment does not have a designated car park I have to lease on adjacent in the Terrace Car Park with monthly rate.
Why should I be subject to the tax when I live here and furthermore when friends come to visit and they park in the adjacent multilevel car park they will also be subject to pay extra for the privilege of visiting me.
City businesses will also suffer.
Another female resident, also on North Terrace:
Hi Rachel…I'm very concerned about the proposed new car park taxes. I am a city resident, and I have heard that residents could be exempt, however my permanent carpark for which I already pay $ 270.00 a month is in a public carpark adjacent to my building (when I bought my apartment there was no carpark with it).
Another letter that came through today:
I am both a CBD resident and run a retail luggage business…in the CBD.
I am writing to express my strong opposition to the Car Parking Tax proposed by the Labour Government. This bizarre tax will make it more expensive to live, to work, to shop and to experience the night-life in the CBD.
It is a nonsense, illogical, for government to be claiming that it is trying to revitalise the CBD and, at the same time, making it more expensive to participate in the life of the city.
The Labour Government cannot claim that it has a mandate for this tax because it is a minority government and it is only propped up by two independents. One is a genuine…Independent and another…was elected as a Liberal. It has been Liberal Policy from prior to the election that the Car Parking Tax would not be introduced. Hamilton-Smith, if he has even a faint wisp of integrity left in his bones, could not support such a tax.
If it is a constitutional crisis that is the outcome of the Liberal Party standing its ground on this issue, then so be it. Stand firm, be strong.
A CBD supermarket owner, an owner of a family-run small business that has leased parking spaces outside of his shop so that customers can park there for free, states that the business will have the $750 per annum levy passed onto it by the owner of the car parks for every one of those spaces. The
owner explained that the levy will be added to the cost to his business and will ultimately mean that he will have to work longer hours or probably not employ at least one other staff member. Another CBD business owner states:
We are small building commercial property owners in the city that contain small basement car parks that are used by our tenants.
We oppose the introduction of the proposed car parking tax on the following basis:
1)We offer affordable office space to small businesses which includes basement car parks. The Levy will greatly affect small business and encourage them to move out of the city. We may then be faced with higher vacancy rates in the city.
2)Carparks that form part of an existing office space lease are locked in for years and there is no avenue to recover the Levy from the tenant (small tenants generally do not pay outgoings as part of their lease). Basically the Land lord is stuck with paying the Levy with no avenue for recovery. This is unfair.
3)Some of our car parks are tandem, that is two parks one behind the other. These are hard to lease. We discount the inferior park 50% in these circumstance. It would be unfair for the levy to apply equally to both parks.
4.Some of our car parks are inferior, that is, small parks that fits small cars only, [or are] difficult to get into due to column, wall and height restrictions. Again we discount these parks up to 50% to accommodate the inconvenience as they are difficult to lease. It would be unfair for the levy to apply in full to these parks.
5.Some of our properties are heritage listed and therefore we cannot change the layout of the building and no opportunity to change the car parking layout to minimise the levy.
6.Where possible we will convert the basement car parks into storage areas to avoid the tax. This will deny the government of the tax and decrease the parks in the city and monopolise parking to the major car parking stations. If many other property owners do the same the impact could be dramatic.
Another CBD business owner writes:
I am writing to you re the parking tax that the Labor government is intending to introduce…in July of this year. We have been established in the city for over 30 years and have parking on our premises. We are in a group of five and our levy alone will be over $3,000 per year. It's challenging enough running a small business today in this state without adding extra fees on top. As a business we see this as a deterrent for the following reasons:
-Retail traders are going to see a decrease in business as shoppers will object to paying higher parking fees and therefore will lose revenue as these clients will go to suburban shopping centres
-Reduced business growth as businesses will not want to move in to the City of Adelaide as rents will increase due to parking levy
-Business owners who own their own buildings will see a decrease in the value of their buildings
-Investment in our state will deteriorate as this will deter new growth in our state which we desperately need.
Another business owner writes:
I feel [motivated] to write to you to express my concerns with regard to the introduction of a parking tax for the City of Adelaide. My objections lie in the effect it will have on my business.
For 8 years I have run a small business in the City of Adelaide. We specifically chose this location to be amongst the vibe of the city, experience its colour and energy and connect with the people who will be on the receiving end of our marketing efforts.
Over the years we've been here I've seen gradual change in the energy of Rundle Street. And that change is downward. It is hard to get people to come to the city to shop. The redevelopment of the Rundle Mall is one factor. But the cost of parking is always cited as a major drawback. And this tax will be passed on by car park owners to the end user. The cost of parking will go up! Less people will come. That is a fact you can't get around. And less people shopping will see more businesses go broke. We have recently returned from 5 weeks absence and came back to 3 more businesses closing down in this area. This tax will be the death of more.
It is also a crucial factor in my business attracting staff to work in the CBD. Public transport is irregular and unreliable. My staff try and find alternatives but most, for convenience, choose to park in the city. This tax WILL add to their cost and make working here far less attractive. If I can't get good staff, for the sake of my business I would be forced to move to the near suburbs.
We as a business provide some parking for senior staff. As a business we are already taxed at one of the highest rates in Australia. And frankly at times struggle to see the benefit in the efforts we go to when confronted with an outrageous tax burden. This tax is just another weight small business will have to contend with. Some won't survive. Currently the city seems to be doing its best to kill itself off as a destination.
I will leave that one there. Another business owner says:
Tell them to go away or I will move my business away from the CBD go to the burbs and if this is still a problem I will move offshore away from penny-pinching inefficient parasitical local government agencies looking for a bailout!
I am no longer keen on funding lazy self entitled public servants. I am happy to be quoted publicly that I am not a leaner but a serious lifter for this state, until it offends me with such menial policy decisions which are personally offensive to every working member of the community.
There are loads and loads of very angry people in the city and I do not have time to actually read all their letters out. Here is another one:
This insidious tax will only HARM the city—I have tenants who run businesses in the city and MUST park nearby so they can service the shop or business…Customers complain now at the cost of parking; the loss of on-street parking… Surely if we had a world-class transport system then this tax…[would not be needed] as a deterrent to come to town in your vehicle...[Perhaps it will] in 30-50 years…[but] not now.
Residents have been encouraged by the Labor government to move into the city and are rightly angry that they are now going to be hit by this $750 tax per year, which could even have GST included on top; that we could not identify. While the Weatherill government is spruiking a vibrant city on the one hand, it is introducing a toxic car park tax which will have the exact opposite effect. South Australians are already struggling under ever increasing cost-of-living pressures and the highest taxes in the nation. The last thing businesses and households need in this state is another tax. I call on the new members to prove that they really have South Australia's best interests at heart and block Jay Weatherill's car parking tax