Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s $20 million pledge could provide ‘about 90’ parking lots at his own headquarters

Camberwell site plans show the local council’s plans for “approximately 90” to be built.

Boroondara Council’s website says it “would be funded by the Australian Government through its Urban Congestion Fund. We will receive $20 million from this fund to complete the project.”

Camberwell site plans show the local council’s plans for “approximately 90” to be built. (Council of Boroondara)

If the project goes ahead with the funding commitment as is, it could be $222,222 per space, but costs are yet to be finalized and could be lower.

“How the Treasurer could come to the conclusion that $220,000 per parking lot is good value is beyond belief,” Independent Senator Rex Patrick told 9News.

“But he was blind to the question of value because he was engaged in the hog barrel – that is, using taxpayers’ money to buy votes – and I guess he thought that no amount of money was too much to buy a vote for the Liberal Party, and especially when it was to be the direct beneficiary.”

The Auditor General’s report on the parking fund found that the scheme strongly favored seats that the government held or targeted in the 2019 election.

Boroondara Council’s website says “this would be funded by the Australian Government as part of its Urban Congestion Fund”. (Council of Boroondara)

Shadow infrastructure minister Catherine King called the government “the most wasteful” since federation.

“He’s the man in charge of our country’s finances, but he thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to spend $20 million on 90 parking lots, all in hopes of swaying a few voices,” he said. she declared.

The project could fall under the $20 million commitment and is intended for a mall parking lot, not a train station, which is 450m away.

Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said: “In September 2021, Boorandara Council provided the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications with the results of its feasibility assessment which identified that commuter parking is expected to save more than $7 million against the budget of $20 million.

The local council is seeking public comment on the project, with submissions due to close on February 10, nearly three years after funding was announced.

“Spending that money on 90 parking spaces just rips our money apart and throws it to the wind,” Greens Senator Janet Rice said.

In May 2019, the treasurer promised “increased capacity of up to 2,000 new parking spaces” in his Kooyong constituency.

The council is offering “approximately 200” parking spaces in the Wattle Valley Road car park in Canterbury. (Council of Boroondara)

Projects have been announced for Camberwell, Glenferrie, Canterbury and Surrey Hills and were expected to cost taxpayers $65 million.

9News understands that at the time the government was working on the assumption that 500 places would be built per site.

But the council’s proposals for Camberwell, Glenferrie and Canterbury confirm that 780 places are planned from $50 million in commitments.

Proposed Projects for Kooyong Parking Lot

  • Camberwell: “About 90” new spaces; $20 million from the Urban Congestion Fund; added above the existing car park; meant to benefit train and tram commuters and shoppers and diners in Camberwell Junction.
  • Glenferrie: “Approximately 490” spaces, retaining the existing 138 parking spaces; $15 million from the Urban Congestion Fund; supposed to benefit from parking for work or study, shopping and dining.
  • Canterbury: “About 200” places, keeping 85 existing places; $15 million from the Urban Congestion Fund; meant to improve accessibility and parking for commuters, shoppers and Park & ​​Ride diners.

No plans have been made public for a site in Surrey Hills. The state government plans to merge this station with a neighboring station. But discussions are ongoing over where to build a federally funded $15 million parking lot project.

The council proposes to build a new car park with “approximately 490” parking spaces near Glenferrie station. (Council of Boroondara)

Mr Frydenberg claimed the state Labor government had ‘ignored the needs of Melbourne’s east end, including constituents such as Kooyong’.

“I have consulted with my local council who have made it clear that there is a significant lack of parking at stations in the area, with a possibility of extending the parking available,” he said in a statement to 9News.

“That’s why I’ve been advocating for more parking lots in Kooyong, which will get cars off the road and local commuters to and from their homes sooner and safer.”

Labor’s Ms King called on the treasurer to apologize to constituents in her constituency who took his promises at face value.

“The more you watch it, the more ridiculous the parking lot scandal becomes,” she said.