Parking in Australia. Not So Free Anymore?

parking signIt was a long time ago, over 2 1/2 years in fact, when I last spoke about parking in Australia. If you live in a town or area where finding a parking space where YOU want to park is difficult, you might like to go back and read that post.

In it, I explain a very cool trick for finding that aforementioned parking space, which is why I called the post The Parking Space Trick and Other Parking Stuff.

In the same article I was also boasting about how much free parking there was here in Australia, with the exception being major city centres and some very popular beaches, like Surfers Paradise. That explains the “Other Parking Stuff” of the title.

So, imagine my horror when I read the following headline:

Shoppers paid parking outrage

The story, which you can read in full here, is about plans to introduce paid parking at a major shopping centre in Brisbane called Chermside. You remember Chermside, Trinny and Susannah were at Chermside to give out fashion tips……

Yes, It's Really Them.

If, or when plans go ahead, it would make Chermside the first shopping centre in Queensland to introduce paid parking.

This is shocking news! Paying to park at the shopping mall? Ridiculous!

People were not happy at the announcement; the call by most was to boycott Chermside, there are plenty other shopping centres to go to.

Let me return to England.

Only in thought, of course.

When I was in England, I used to live close to the relatively average sized towns of Southend, Chelmsford, Romford and Basildon. Try to park anywhere near any of the shops of those towns and you would pay to park.

At best, you might get one hour of free parking if you used a car park owned by a supermarket chain. Obviously you have to spend money in their store and get your ticket stamped. But by the time you done that, there’d be precious little, if any, of your free hour left.

But by and large, you would end up paying to park.

Let’s get back to Australia.

The shopping centre is owned by a company called Westfield, they have shopping centres all over. They already have plans to introduce paid parking at another Brisbane site, the one in Carindale. But when you look closely at the deal, it doesn’t seem too bad.

Customers will get the first three hours for free.

Three hours! Three hours!!

If you can’t get all of your shopping done in three hours, you have a serious shopping problem! Three hours! You’d need to have a thing about shoes or bags to spend more than three hours shopping!

Actually, no! Mrs BobinOz has a thing about both shoes AND bags and even she can get in and out of Chermside inside three hours!

The move is intended to prevent people from parking all day that aren’t really using the shopping centre. Westfield are also spending $10 million (we are told) in technology to help customers easily find the nearest parking space.

Parking will be easier.

So why the outrage? This sounds like a marvellous deal for customers, providing they are not shopaholics.

Well, there is a downside and I only found out about this today. It turns out that the people who work in the shopping centre are going to be asked to pay three dollars a day to park. This is very, very bad!

Bad Westfield!

$60 a month is a lot of money to pay for the privilege of turning up at work. For that reason I expect the outrage to continue. But apparently, paying to park at the shops is a bit more common the further south you go in Australia.

What’s parking like where you live?

Parking at Surfers Paradise.

There are some paid parking spaces in the heart of Surfers Paradise, otherwise they wouldn’t need those Meter Maids. But you can still park for free if you one of the spaces a little further out. We always are happy to do that and then enjoy the 10 minute or so stroll along the beach to the centre.

But when we went the other Sunday morning, even all the most distant free parking spaces had been taken. Well, it was Sunday and it was a beautiful sunny day.

Or maybe the lack of parking spaces has something to do with the world’s largest bikini parade?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • djmcbell April 11, 2014, 5:19 pm |

    Where I live in the UK, parking is… weird. Most out-of-town shopping centres and shopping malls have free parking – park as long as you want, no need for a ticket. Just turn up and leave your car.

    In town, however, it’s a different matter. You have to pay to park on the streets, and you have to pay to park in shopping centres in town (in their nice multi-story car parks). And they wonder why the high street is dying as people go to the out-of-town centres…

    On an even more maddening approach, we now have to have permits just to park outside our house (we don’t have the room to have drives and garages)! People using the nearby hospital would just park on streets around the neighbourhood and take up all the spaces (because you have to pay to park at the hospital), so they instituted a permit system. The local council did recently consider charging £50 a year for the permits (so £50 just to park outside your house) but it was ruled illegal. You also have a visitors permit which is provided free at the moment, but under this would also have been £50, but if you have more than one car visiting you at a time then you’ve got to apply two weeks in advance. Needless to say, this leads to neighbours lending permits to each other to get round it.

    • BobinOz April 14, 2014, 5:11 pm |

      Well I think certain city areas around Australia are also now using the permit approach for homeowners for the exact same reason. I must stress though, this is only in city areas and, I think, only the main big cities and perhaps even then just limited to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

      I don’t know that for sure though, if anyone else can throw some light on what happens in their cities, that would be good.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Valter Russo July 15, 2013, 2:28 pm |

    Hi Bob

    In Portugal i got realy surprised when i saw a shoping park that was FREE,
    yes you got it right, i was overwhelmed when you said ” This is shocking news! Paying to park at the shopping mall? Ridiculous!”
    just when the economic crisis ”broke loose” we got some shopings/malls with a free park. im not sure, but i believe the workers do not pay park (i hope)
    also in every town,you got the payed park.


    • BobinOz July 15, 2013, 10:24 pm |

      Well here in Australia we are hoping that paying to park in a shopping mall remains ridiculous, rather than the norm. I’ve lived here over five years so far, I’ve only ever paid to park in car parks in the city, never paid at a suburban shopping mall and I hope that continues.

      City parking is a different thing altogether, it’s actually quite expensive to parking cities here. This article is only about suburban shopping malls,



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