A TOURISM tax on parking could lead to a surge in illegal parking and arguments on the streets of the Gold Coast, says Queensland’s peak industry group for body corporate management.
Strata Community Australia (Qld) has urged Mayor Tom Tate to reconsider its plans to charge visitors to the Gold Coast more for parking than locals, arguing that it could seriously affect the city’s strata-title industry.
“(Illegal parking) is already a major problem and we don’t want it to get worse,” says SCA (Qld) president Simon Barnard.
“This tax will particularly hit the back pocket of day trippers,” he says.
“It taxes nearby locals rather than international and interstate tourists who typically train, fly, taxi or coach to and around the Gold Coast.
“If the parking costs for visitors go up, so too will the number of illegal parkers who want a free place to park.
“Bodies corporate and resident managers are constantly dealing with the issue of illegal parkers on strata and community title properties.
“In some instances, illegal parkers on strata property have become abusive when challenged and we don’t want to see anything done to fan this further.”
However, the Mayor has hit back at the claims saying that pricing and avalability of parking has been identified as the biggest concern among ratepayers and the council is seeking to address this.
“The community is driving the push for lower fees for locals, which I am inclined to agree with given ratepayers have subsidised Gold Coast Tourism to the tune of $100 million over a decade,” Tate tells Gold Coast Business News.
“In short, we’re taking action to fix parking which will culminate in a new whole of city parking plan and plenty more consultation before the end of the year.”
The council is considering offering discounts for locals parking on Gold Coast streets as part of the strategy.
According to one council insider, even with the proposed parking increase Brisbane residents holidaying on the Gold Coast will still pay a lot less for parking than Gold Coasters on a day trip to Brisbane.
Tate says the council is continuing to increase signange within the Gold Coast’s busiest precincts to direct traffic to vacant spots.
“A new parking system will allow smartphone applications to do the same,” he says.
The Mayor says the comments by the SCA (Qld) president on this issue is at odds with the support its members have received over the years by the council-funded Gold Coast Tourism.
“I can only conclude from Simon’s comments that he is arguing for higher differential rate on accommodation houses, which is extremely odd,” Tate says.
Barnard says he would like to meet with the Mayor to discuss the issue.
“Short-term accommodation is a huge industry on the Gold Coast and at the very core of local tourism,” he says.
“We understand the need to generate extra revenue for Gold Coast tourism projects. However it should not be at the expense and inconvenience of the strata industry.”
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