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Property pain

THE recent move by the Western Australian Government to increase the Perth Parking Levy by 20 per cent, from $150 to $180 per space per year has been described by industry pundits as another tax hike that could threaten the viability of Perth’s inner city areas.

The parking levy applies to non-residential parking within the Perth CBD, West Perth, East Perth and Northbridge.

Over the past two years the State Government has increased the levy by $110.

The Property Council of Australia’s WA branch is arguing that the rise in the parking bay license fee beyond CPI movements would further disadvantage the CBD retail market and also deter businesses from locating in the Perth CBD.

A joint survey conducted between the Property Council and Curtin University in February 2001 revealed that car parking was the third most important factor (out of eight) for tenants when selecting a commercial tenancy.

Wilson Parking managing director Gary Kosh said the parking bay levy increases would be passed on to customers and businesses.

Mr Kosh said parking bay companies, landlords and consumers would be the ones to suffer. 

He warned that WA might be travelling down the same path as the New South Wales Government whose parking levy had increased exorbitantly in recent years.

First introduced in 1992, the parking space levy applied only to the Sydney and North Sydney CBDs at a rate of $200 per commercial space per year. 

The levy has since increased to $800 per space per annum in Sydney’s CBD, North Sydney/Milson’s Point and has been extended to the centres of Parramatta, Bondi Junction, St Leonards and Chatswood at $400 per space per annum.

Mr Kosh said this year the WA Government increased the parking levy to $180 per space but “where does it go from here?”

“It interferes with normal business because it is a tax grab – it has nothing to do with commercial business,” he said.

Mr Kosh said increases in parking costs would result in reducing visits to the city and companies choosing to set up business in other locations.

The availability and cost of parking in the Perth CBD played a significant role in the decision made by increasing numbers of businesses to move out of the city to fringe CBD suburbs, such as West Perth, South Perth and Subiaco.

Recent big moves out of the CBD include SGIO, WMC Resources and the Department of Industry and Technology, resulting in around 21,550 sqm of occupied office space and associated staff relocating out of the city.

CB Richard Ellis leasing director Andrew Denny said the levy increase was making the CBD a less attractive place to do business.

Mr Denny said parking costs accounted for approximately 10 per cent of total costs for businesses looking to lease office space in the city.

“Parking costs are a significant issue for many businesses in deciding where to relocate,” he said.

“It is not property owners who pay for the levy it is business and individuals who drive to the city to shop and do business that pay.”

CB Richard Ellis West Perth senior leasing negotiator Sonia Fairhead said the levy did not have much impact on businesses in West Perth as the parking fees were so much lower.

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