On the 1st of February, ANU Parking informed dozens of residents from Burgmann College of a system malfunction that resulted in Dickson parking station over-allocations. This notice included the immediate revocation of their resident parking permits, less than two weeks before the start of O-Week.

ANU Parking initially provided residents with the opportunity to purchase a Dickson Parking permit on the 25th of January. Located less than 150 metres behind Burgmann College, Dickson parking station is the closest parking spot for Burggman residents.

In an email to affected residents, ANU Parking expressed that this issue arose due to “vPermit system issues, which is not an ANU-managed system.” ANU advertises v-Permit as a seamless e-permit system that provides an “easy alternative to traditional parking permits.” ANU’s Parking and Traffic Instrument emphasises that the vPermit system has been “developed by the parking systems provider and [is] managed by the University.” 

ANU Parking noted in the email that “The role of the parking office is to manage the resources allocated by the university. The parking team were instructed to cancel the oversubscribed parking spaces.” 

According to an ANU spokesperson, had the system malfunction not occurred, “residents who were wrongly allocated permits [in Dickson parking] would not have been able to apply in the first place.” 

The cancellation of permits was determined according to application order, meaning that residents who applied last for their permits lost out. 

A Burgmann resident explained that some residents had driven upwards of 14 hours to Canberra and were then simply “told they didn’t have a parking permit when they got down here.”

Affected residents could either opt to be placed on the waitlist for a Burgmann resident permit, located in Dickson Parking Station or college surface parking, or purchase Baldessin or Kingsley Street permits. 

Dickson Parking Station is advertised at $478.80 per year to residents from several ANU residential colleges, including Burton and Garran Hall, Bruce Hall, Wright Hall, Ursula Hall, Burgmann College, Yukeembruk and John XXII College. Students were initially concerned about the difference in price for the Baldessin and Kingsley alternatives, which they were told could only be purchased at the non-residential rate. 

Permits at Baldessin and Kinglsey parking stations are typically only offered to ANU students at a higher rate of $1,859.22 for the same period – almost 4 times the price of the residential permits. An impacted Burgmann resident noted that “it wasn’t until a week later that [ANU Parking] provided a more financially viable solution.” 

After several resident complaints, ANU Parking sent a follow-up email on the 5th of February informing the residents that they could purchase Baldessin and Kingsley parking permits at the less costly residential rate.  

This initial email ensured residents that they would be refunded fully. However, consequent emails from ANU Parking provided $467.60 in refunds, rather than the $478.80 initially paid. Woroni understands that this difference in price reflected the number of days residents had their Dickson parking permits before they were cancelled. 

A frustrated parent of a Burgmann resident emailed ANU Parking, expressing that it is “unacceptable” that residents are “to be charged $11 for this fiasco.” Another Burgmann resident told Woroni that although it was a small discrepancy in price, it reflected ANU Parking’s “unwillingness to take accountability”, and was “simply inconsiderate”. 

Safety concerns were central to resident arguments, with students and parents  particularly mindful of the dangers of walking across campus late at night. Burgmann students face a 12-15 minute walk home across campus from Baldessin and Kingsley parking stations, much like the estimated 3-15 minutes to Dickson parking station required of residents from other halls.

One Burgmann parent expressed concern, noting that “[her] daughter has a job that runs late into the evening as do many other students at Burgmann College.” Burgmann residents also emphasised the accessibility concerns this poses to students with disabilities, who might have greater difficulty travelling across campus. 

ANU Parking emphasised in response that students had several safety options, including arranging a ‘Unisafe escort’ from ANU Security at night, parking in paid zones and leaving before ‘8:00am each weekday morning’, hiring a Flexi-car to get off campus or an e-scooter on campus, and downloading the ANUOK app. 

A Burgmann resident also complained that they were not provided with the necessary 10 working days cancellation notice outlined in Section 14(2) of the University’s Parking and Traffic Statute.

An ANU spokesperson has apologised “for any inconvenience this system malfunction may have caused residents and thanks them for their patience and goodwill as [they are] working through this issue.”


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