July 24, 2018 15:21:46
WA Premier Mark McGowan has called for retail workers to be exempted from parking fees at suburban shopping centres, following the introduction of paid parking at Westfield Carousel.
“Distressed” workers have vowed to fight the plans and Mr McGowan today said the Government would consider ways they can be exempted from the new fees, which were brought in for the general public this week as part of a $350 million makeover of the centre.
“We’re looking at what we can do to ensure that both the workforce and small business people in these shopping centres can be excluded from the payments,” Mr McGowan said.
“I think it’s a bit rich.
“It hasn’t been done before and I don’t like it, and I think people in small business and retail workers deserve to be exempted.”
The union representing retail and fast food workers, the SDA, said its members were alarmed by what had happened at Carousel and feared paid parking would soon spread to other shopping centres, including the Galleria in Morley where a $500 million expansion has been planned.
Assistant secretary Ben Harris said the introduction of paid parking after three hours at Carousel would have a disproportionate affect on retail workers, who had no choice in how long they stayed.
“Members are really distressed by it,” he said.
“Carousel is the first cab off the rank I think, and there’s more of this to come and something must be done about it.
“They [retail workers] should have the right to have access to free and safe parking in shopping centres where parking is provided.”
‘Cheaper than a return train ride’
Westfield Carousel’s new ticketless parking system, which uses licence plate recognition technology, started this week but staff will not have to start paying until next month.
Staff will receive a discounted rate of $2 for up to four hours or $3 for the whole day.
In a leaflet to staff, Westfield management noted that this was “cheaper than a return train ride!”
For general shoppers, the first three hours are free — after that charges between $3 and $18 apply.
Westfield Carousel Parking Fees
|3 – 4||$3|
|4 – 5||$6|
|5 – 6||$9|
|6 – 7||$12|
|7 – 8||$15|
“For those people who think $3 a day is a minor matter, good luck to them, but for many of our members this is a significant cost and it will have a significant impact on their family finances,” Mr Harris said.
“This is all stick. This is about hitting our members with additional costs to access their place of work and they don’t deserve it.”
He said public transport was not an option for many retail and fast food workers because of their hours.
The SDA blamed the Department of Transport for the fee introductions, referring to guidelines relating to parking for large shopping centres introduced in 2016.
The guidelines require shopping centres to submit Parking Supply and Management Plans (PSMP) as a condition of redevelopment, “to help reduce on-road congestion and encourage greater use of public transport”.
According to the guidelines, PSMPs should “ensure that charges apply to staff parking, including strategies for differentiating staff from customers.”
The SDA wants an exemption for staff written into the guidelines so they can continue to park for free.
Parking hit comes after rate cuts, bag bans
“Retail and fast food workers are copping it from all sides at the moment,” Mr Harris said.
“Obviously they’ve had trading hours extended over the last few years, they’ve had their penalty rates cut, they’re copping abuse and violence from customers in relation to the plastic bag ban and now they’re going to have to start paying to access their place of work.”
The Department of Transport played down its role in the introduction of paid parking.
“Ultimately paid parking is a commercial decision for shopping centres,” a spokeswoman said.
“The Department of Transport provides guidance to local government and developers to deliver safe and efficient access for the community to large shopping centres.
“The expansion of large shopping centres will result in an increase in the number of people travelling by car to and from these locations, which in turn may then result in greater traffic congestion and delays to motorists including those trying to access these centres.
“Pricing specifications for parking are not included in the guidelines. The amount(s) charged at any location is a decision made by the shopping centre owner/manager.”
Scentre Group, which owns and operates Westfield Shopping Centres, said it had no current plans to introduce paid parking at its other WA centres — Innaloo and Whitford City.
AMP Capital Shopping Centres is planning redevelopments at Garden City and Karrinyup, but said with expected completion dates three years away, it was too soon to make decisions on paid parking.
July 23, 2018 18:02:58