The Melbourne City Council this week upped the meter costs of on-street parking in a bid to raise extra revenue.
Whilst this might provide some benefit to off street car-park holders who are planning, on December 12, a shut down protest against the State Government's congestion tax the question that has not been answered is why and what will the economic impact be on city retailers who are already struggling to compete with the likes of Chadstone and Northlands.
Link to original story in the Herald-Sun
Retail and recreational visits to the City of Melbourne are in decline creating a social imbalance in the make-up of the city.
Families on a tight budget can no longer afford a night out in the City centre. Bourke Street is no longer the place for family entertainment.
The Casino has dominated the non-sex adult-entertainment market leaving a small alternative bar culture mix to fill in the void of city life. Adult sex shops still dominate some sections of Melbourne's main shopping Streets.
No wonder our City small-business retailers are complaining, they have just cause to complain, and the City Council is not listening to them or satisfying their concerns. The Melbourne City Council are no-longer the solution but the problem.
Why has the City of Melbourne had to sneak in this increase in parking fees as part of its mid-year budget review? Could it not have held back to the full budget in June next year? Is the City Council's budget in that bad shape that it has to over-tax the short stay motorist at short noice?
The City Council is fast expanding, it is constructing the cities most expensive office block to house yet more Council Staff and there appears to be no end to the expansion. If the budget is so tight why could the city not review its outgoings and redeploy existing staff to meet its requirements? Why does it need to expand and to what benefit to city stakeholders?
Anyone that spends time in the Town Hall will soon realise the extent of waste and inefficiency that exists in the City Council today. Blind Freddy can see that.
The Council administration are removed from reality, having no idea of the needs or impacts of their own ideological policies.
Yes we all want a cleaner and more environmentally friendly city, we would like to see better alternative means of transport, better services to support bicycles and motor cycles, pedestrian and the like but trying to force a reduction in the number of cars by taxing access to the city is not the solution.
On street Car Parking should be free at night to help lower the costs of the family night-out and regenerate interest in the city as the place of focus and destination of choice for entertainment.
The social problems we see in Bourke street are a direct result of the social imbalance that currently exist with the absence of family patrons.
We need to rework and adequately fund public transport by increasing the frequency and various modes of transport that service the city. Private mini-buses that apply routes not serviced by trams, trains or the less frequent larger bus services.
Taxing the on-street meter parking is not the solution and the Council should not be allowed to sneak in an increase in fees in the mid-year review in the lead-up to the Christmas period.
Any increase in Council revenue should only be decided during the Annual Budget process and considered in association with the overall cost and expenditure of the City Council and not in isolation in a half year review.
Increases in revenue can be staggered to ease the burden but they must be planned well in advance and not at a moments determination. The mid-year review should concentrate in adjusting expenditure to meet budget outcomes.
Time for a rethink.