Fear over UWA  parking fees
Needs her car: Biomedical student Chloe Price. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Academics fear students and staff could be hit for nearly $9 a day to park at the University of WA under a plan to encourage public transport use.

The UWA branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, which is in a protracted dispute over an enterprise bargaining agreement, says UWA plans to replace annual parking permits with a daily charge equivalent to a two-zone adult public transport return fare.

It says a UWA senate resolution in 2011 approves in principle moving towards the two-zone charge for staff, students and visitors.

The Transperth two-zone return adult fare is $8.40.

NTEU branch president Jamie O'Shea said the move would increase staff parking from $460 a year to more than $2000.

He said most staff with a parking permit paid about $9 a week and would have to pay about the same per day under the plan.

This would particularly affect staff from outer suburbs with children at school. He believed it would be "sold" as a "clean and green" initiative and a disincentive to drive.

"The difficulty is not everybody has a choice," Mr O'Shea said.

Though UWA prepared "fact sheets" on parking reforms from 2013-15, which were online, they were not released officially and it was unclear if the plan was shelved.

Asked whether the rises were still being considered, a UWA spokesman said its parking fees were reviewed "on a regular basis".

"While there may be increases in the future, there are no plans to increase the price of parking from $460 per year in 2014 to over $2200 per year in 2015," he said.

Biomedical student Chloe Price, 20, who has to work part-time to go to university, said she lived too far away to take public transport.

Law student Sonja Amos, of Stirling, said parking was already expensive and the increase would be unfair on students who do not have much money. She said public transport to UWA took too long.

Law student Chris Steenson said it would be unjust to raise student parking fees when they paid so much in other fees already.

Parking costs up to $290 a year at Murdoch, $77 a year for students and $234 for staff at Edith Cowan and $2.65 a day at Curtin.

The West Australian

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