SOUTH Australia's proposed Transport Development Levy has been scrapped, after an Opposition amendment to remove the levy from the budget passed Parliament last week with the support of two Family First MPs and independent John Darley.
The levy, which was proposed by the State Government in 2012 to help raise revenue to fund transport projects, would have applied a $750 levy to certain off-street and on-street car spaces in Adelaide's CBD and was expected to raise more than $100 million over the next four years.
The scrapping of the proposed levy was welcomed by the Property Council of Australia, with SA Executive Director Daniel Gannon describing it as great news for the property and construction industry, CBD business owners, workers and the broader South Australian community.
"We've made no secret of our belief that a car park tax will damage CBD vibrancy and our state's economic growth." Mr Gannon said in a statement last week, adding that attention must now turn to job creation and economic growth.
"At a time when property investors and business owners are doing it tough, South Australians need encouragement to help grow the economy. Right now, CBD business owners need to be encouraged to create jobs and grow our state's economy, not discouraged," Mr Gannon said.
"On a number of fronts, the State Government has successfully driven its vibrancy agenda in the CBD through its laneway activation program. However, the proposed car park tax – if implemented – would've been a step in the wrong direction with CBD investment suffering."
The South Australian Government had earlier warned that the proposed park-and-ride facility at Paradise Interchange would be cancelled if the levy was voted down. The levy was also expected to fund seven other potential park-and-ride facilities at Tambelin, Golden Grove, Bellevue Heights, Crafers, Morphettville, West Lakes and Wayville.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said every dollar raised by the Transport Development Levy was to be reinvested in public transport infrastructure.
"As the number of people living and working in the city grows and traffic increases, we need to invest in better public transport infrastructure to encourage more people to use our buses, trains and trams. Otherwise people will experience major delays and our city will cease to work effectively," the Treasurer said.
"The reality is that car parking costs increase year-by-year but not one cent that you pay is used to decongest our roads and build new public transport infrastructure."
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said the Transport Development Levy was a key component in funding initiatives in the Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan, which sets out more than 30 years of improvements to road and rail transport infrastructure.
"What do the Liberals have against public transport? They didn't take one policy to the election about public transport –they clearly don't care about the people who take 200,000 trips everyday on our network," Mr Mulligan said.