I rise to express my disappointment on behalf of West Heidelberg residents at the fact that because of government cuts the West Heidelberg campus of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) is introducing parking fees for TAFE students from 1 July. TAFE students will now be paying up to $5 a day – something like $1000 a year – to park their cars at the campus.
Many students completing apprenticeships drive vans or utes, making their vehicles mobile workplaces. Some students attend courses during their work hours and public transport is not an option for them. It is obvious that students will try to avoid these fees by parking in The Mall shopping centre car park or in local and suburban streets.
Of further concern is that there are many public housing double-storey flats near NMIT and free parking is at a premium in the nearby streets. Public housing tenants cannot afford up to $165 a year in parking and visitor permits, and even a family buying a single permit and a visitor permit would be up for $65 a year.
What is very clear is that the NMIT campus in West Heidelberg, which had a $30-million loss this year, has suffered over $28 million in cuts from the government and is now having to sting students $5 a day for parking. As a result, students will park in nearby streets, forcing Banyule council to introduce parking permits and sting local residents and public housing tenants if they wish to park on their local streets. Everyone will pay, including students and tenants, because of this government’s cuts to TAFE funding.