Thursday, October 2, 2014

Moreland Residents are Paying for Developer Profits

The Victorian Government is expanding the Melbourne Congestion Parking Levy Area to incorporate other parts of the electorate of Wills including Brunswick, North Fitzroy as well as Parkville, North Carlton, Princes Hill, North Melbourne and West Melbourne.

The Victorian Liberal Treasurer has stated the levy for this new area will operate in the same way as the current levy, at a rate of $950 per year per leviable parking space for the 2015 levy year, to be indexed each year thereafter. This works out to $2.70 per day.

Moreland City Council states there was an agreement when the congestion charge was initially created between the State Government and the City of Melbourne. Moreland Council has written to the Victorian Liberal Treasurer, Michael O’Brien, requesting a similar agreement with the newly affected Councils.  Council was disappointed the Government did not consult with Moreland or other local Councils regarding the implementation of the expanded new zone, until legislation was already tabled in Parliament.

The Victorian Liberal Government has refused to consider Moreland’s request that 15% of the levy proceeds be allocated back to local Councils to help fund local transport services.

Moreland has stated the new charge will have significant impacts on Council’s off street car parks in the area and have numerous political and strategic ramifications impacting businesses, business permits, car share bays, work zones and much more.

Instead of Moreland residents, developers who build more high rise, high density, multi dwelling residential developments throughout inner city Melbourne and our urban fringe, should be directly charged the new congestion levy.

Property developers and speculators have been taking advantage and profiting on Melbourne’s liveability, amenity and environment, which has been carefully put together over many decades of hard work by governments and Victorian taxpayers. According to RMIT Research, there are currently 85,000 apartments and new residences either built or in the pipeline in Melbourne’s central city area in the decade between 2011 and 2021. This is despite the Victorian Government’s own Victoria in Future study showing that about 43,000 new dwellings are needed for the area over the period covered by the RMIT analysis.

These developments are on top of the urban sprawl that is taking place on urban fringes, and our many other metropolitan infill developments which are creating more traffic congestion, more private motor vehicle trips and demand for infrastructure and services. Many developers are also advocating for their developments to have minimal to no car parking options, and rather seek to take advantage of ‘transport corridors and services’ which are within the vicinity of their developments. The truth is more people in and around Melbourne means more demand on not just public transport but also private motor vehicle use, which the developers, not taxpayers, should be made to pay for.
The Victorian Liberal Government should show some leadership on population growth issues, and put forward a proactive strategy that is about encouraging sustainable population growth, that addresses traffic congestion and which charges property developers accordingly for the impact their developments are having on Greater Melbourne. Hard working Victorian tax and ratepayers should not be made to foot the bill for developer greed.

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