Yarra plans parking reform

Documents published for the City of Yarra council meeting on the 12th September 2023 offer insight as to why Yarra is planning to deliver reforms to on-street parking.

Draft Transport Action Plan 2023-2033

The Draft Transport Action Plan describes how Yarra’s Transport Strategy 2022-2032 will actually be delivered.

Yarra’s Transport Strategy and Plan. Image credits: City of Yarra.

The Transport Action Plan offers six Strategic Programs:

  1. New Deal for Schools
  2. New Deal for Cycling
  3. New Deal for Walking
  4. Moving Forward with Public Transport
  5. Growing the shared mobility transport program
  6. Other ‘Moving Forward’ transport projects

Within Strategic Program #6 ‘Other Moving Forward transport projects’, Action #2 is policy work to draft a new parking strategy, which will occur over four years, from 2023 to 2026.

Excerpt from draft Transport Action Plan. Image credit: City of Yarra.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy 2023-2033

The Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy describes how council will respond to rising cost pressures, cost shifting, a tightening fiscal environment, a growing population, and the Municipal Monitor’s Report on the Governance of the City of Yarra.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.

The Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy offers seven Strategic Levers:

  1. Sustainable cash reserves & responsible borrowing
  2. Optimise revenue
  3. Well planned assets
  4. Review the service landscape
  5. Invest in transformation
  6. Robust finanial management
  7. Prioritise advocacy & partnerships

Within Strategic Lever #2 ‘Optimise revenue’, the strategy states:

The user pay principle, in the context of local government, is a guiding concept that advocates for individuals or entities benefiting directly from specific services or facilities to bear the associated costs. Under this principle, users are charged fees corresponding to the level of services they use or the extent of benefits they receive. The user pay principle promotes fairness by ensuring that those who directly benefit from particular amenities, such as recreational facilities or waste collection services, contribute proportionately to the cost of maintaining and providing these services, relieving the financial burden on the broader community. Those who directly benefit from, or cause expenditure, should make an appropriate contribution to the service, balanced by the capacity of people to pay while ensuring compliance with National Competition Policy.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy

A key element of the Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy is to significantly increase revenue from on-street parking, by changing from timed parking (e.g. free for four hours) to priced parking, most likely applied to visitors and commuters (as opposed to residents):

The cost of Yarra’s resident parking permits will remain among the lowest in inner-city Melbourne, and we are also maintaining our significant concession discounts (including retaining a free first permit for concession holders). Parking restrictions have a primary goal of sharing a resource rather than generating revenue, however a pricing model is effective in supporting more efficient, fairer use. We are moving towards a more demand driven parking model that considers demand for parking spaces in price setting. This increase in parking revenue will help Council’s financial position without major community impost.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy

This appears as actions 2.3 and 2.1, i.e. to review council’s parking strategy (in Year 2), and then to actually implement council’s Pricing Policy (in Year 3):

Excerpt from draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.


As described in our ‘Better for Parking‘ page and in our ‘Revenue‘ page, the opportunities offered by parking reform include:

  • People will be able to find a park near their destination, and
  • Council will benefit from extra revenue on the order of $36 million per year (approximately 15% of the annual budget of $220 million).
Streets Alive Yarra president describing how council can raise $36 million per year from commuter parking, as a verbal submission to the 2023/24 budget. Video credit: City of Yarra.


The Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy summarises risks facing council, including:

  • whether the upcoming Parking Strategy will recommend user-pays market-rate parking fees for commuters,
  • whether user-pays principles will be adopted, and
  • whether the 2024 council elections will deliver a majority of councillors that continue to support the strategy.
Excerpt from draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.
Excerpt from draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.

Our view

Streets Alive Yarra is grateful that council has now clearly stated that it will closely examine the issue of how on-street parking is priced, and has now acknowledged that the revenue opportunity is material to both the budget and council’s financial sustainability. Every year that council delays the introduction of best-practice pricing means that council and ratepayers miss out on another $36 million dollars, which could be used to pay off debt or invest in infrastructure. We encourage council to move forward with reform as fast as practicable.

Suggestions for the Parking Strategy. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Published 9th September 2023