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29 July 2011
Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said today that she understood the concern of staff and students about increases to car parking fees from the beginning of next year.
Professor den Hollander announced the fee increases to staff and students at the end of last week.
“No-one is ever in favour of price increases, especially parking, and I fully understand that,” she said.
“But the fact is that we need to focus on our core activities of teaching and research and ensure that we are providing maximum funding to those activities which benefit student learning.
“The capital costs of building car parks and then maintaining them are considerable,” she said, “and the car parking fees that we charge for those facilities do not come close to covering the costs.”
“We need to increase the fees that people pay for those facilities to ensure that we are reducing the subsidy that the University has to provide and which would otherwise be directed to our core activities of teaching and research.
“Even under the new 2012 car parking fees, the most common general parking permit will cost less than $2 per day. That is considerably less than local government authorities surrounding our campuses would charge for parking and certainly less than commercial providers,” she said.
Professor den Hollander said that the general trend towards more sustainable transport options had also been a factor in motivating the price increases.
“Like it or not, we are now living in a world where there is an increasing emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and, consequently, there is an expectation that organisations will adopt more sustainable transport practices, one of which is to promote public transport and other alternatives to single-occupancy car trips,” she said.
Deakin has lobbied for improvements to public transport for some time and, as a result, has seen considerable improvements to bus services to the Burwood campus in recent years. The university has also introduced a shuttle bus service between its two Geelong campuses.
“We can certainly do more and are pursuing a number of objectives under our Sustainable Transport Strategy such as expanding our car pooling program, providing intercampus bus services and continuing to lobby for improved public transport for all campuses.”
Professor den Hollander said that since the announcement last week, she had received feedback from both staff and students and that some amendments to the increases were being considered.
“In response to student concerns, we are considering maintaining some free car parks at both Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool campuses and enhancing our existing financial assistance programs for students in need.
“In response to staff feedback, we are considering options for employees who work less than full time and have a less frequent need for car parking.”
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