Car park occupancy and COVID-19 advocacy
By Stuart Norman, CEO, Parking Australia
While the media has reported an uplift in traffic on the roads, in most of our capital cities it seems that this has not translated into pre COVID-19 car park occupancy levels. Just before the start of the second wave the Victorian Government reported that traffic levels were only 17% below normal levels, but these figures did not correlate with parking occupancy.
It would be an understatement to say that the second wave of COVID-19, and subsequent stage three lockdown in Victoria for six weeks, is not what the industry needs. It does, however, mean that Parking Australia will be renewing its efforts in seeking relief from the crippling impacts of the $100m Melbourne Congestion Levy.
While in Perth, WA Today reported that traffic levels were back to normal as commuters shun the use of public transport and are driving. Unfortunately, the campaign calling for the suspension of the Perth Parking Levy by Parking Australia and other organisations such as Activate Perth, and the WA division of the Property Council of Australia, has been unsuccessful.
In more positive news, Parking Australia has met with the NSW Government to discuss the Sydney Parking Levy. Further discussions are to take place as we mount a case for extended relief, in addition to the 6 month deferral announced by the NSW Government in March.
One of the learnings from this pandemic is that Parking Australia needs to continue to develop relationships with key decision makers, at both the state and federal levels. It has been evident that associations with longstanding relationships with government departments, have been the most effective in gaining assistance during this difficult and stressful time.
Further Government Assistance
The Prime Minister and Federal Treasurer have stated that they will announce further measures to assist employers and employees as the pandemic continues into a second wave in parts of the country.
In addition to this, last week the Victorian Government announced further measures to assist businesses who are affected by the latest lockdowns. These include $5000 grants as part of the Business Support Grants, which a number of Parking Australia members accessed during the first lockdown. Other measures include funds for small businesses based in Melbourne’s CBD and those who are part of Melbourne’s night-time economy.
Larger businesses will benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses will be able to defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.
2020 Parking Industry Awards
After much consideration, Parking Australia has decided to hold the 2020 Parking Industry Awards. As this stage, we don’t yet know if the Awards will be held in person or virtually, or a combination of both later this year.
While this year has been tough for so many in our industry, it is also an opportunity for us to celebrate and acknowledge those companies and projects which demonstrate what is great about our industry.
Keep an eye out for further information in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I encourage you to start thinking about your most successful projects during 2019 -2020, what your business does well and what it should be recognised for.