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Congestion levy for the Convent questioned
09 April 2014
Council has called on the State Government to drop its plans to apply a new parking tax to the Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children’s Farm.
The State Government is expected to collect $4.5 million a year on expansion of its Congestion Levy on off-street parking spaces into Abbotsford, Fitzroy, Fitzroy North, Carlton North, Collingwood and Princes Hill from 1 January next year.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky, said the new tax was expected to cost the not-for-profit organisations an extra $280,000 per year, severely impacting the viability of two of Yarra’s most popular tourist attractions.
“Both organisations rely heavily on income generated by the car park so it is terribly unfair to expect them to accept such an unreasonable financial burden, partiuclarly when, as I understand it, other popular attractions with paid parking, such as the MCG (Yarra Park) and the Royal Melbourne Zoo, have already been granted exemptions from the levy by the State Government,” she said.
Cr Fristacky said Council was also keen to see revenue collected from other parts of Yarra invested into local projects that benefited residents and businesses.
“The State Government has said it will use the revenue to fund public transport and road infrastructure projects but there are no guarantees that those projects will be in Yarra,” she said.
“What Council is seeking is an agreement with the State Government similar to the one the State already has with the City of Melbourne that would see a portion of the levy distributed fairly to Yarra so Council can prioritise important local infrastructure projects.
“The City of Melbourne receives about $7 million a year and has used a portion of that money to help pay for the Swanston Street upgrade and separated bicycle lanes on Latrobe Street.
“Whether we’re building the infrastructure or they are, we’re simply seeking an assurance from the State Government that money collected in Yarra will go towards local projects and not be invested in other municipalities.”
Cr Fristacky said Council would work with the cities of Melbourne and Port Phillip to ensure the congestion levy revenue was returned equitably to their respective municipalities for sustainable transport projects.
First introduced into the CBD in 2005, the Congestion Levy – which applies an annual charge to individual off-street parking spaces - generated about $93.5 million for the State Government in 2013/14.
That figure is expected to grow to about $121 million when the levy boundary is expanded further into the cities of Yarra and Port Phillip next year.
You can find out more about the Congestion Levy, including details on who is eligible for exemptions, on the State Revenue Office of Victoria’s website.
For more information, please contact Toby Walker, Acting Coordinator – Communications, on 9205 5120 or at Toby.Walker@yarracity.vic.gov.au
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