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by Tim Beissmann

Don’t you hate it when you forget where your car park is?

The Queensland Government’s Transport and Main Roads department has been renting 505 parking bays in Brisbane, although a September 2010 audit found that it only knew where 489 of them were.

A deeper investigation found that the remaining 16 spaces did not actually exist.

Transport and Main Roads director-general, Dave Stewart, told a hearing he did not know how long the there had been an imbalance in the numbers or how much taxpayer money had been wasted.

According to a Fairfax report, Mr Stewart said he was “very confident” there were no longer any phantom spaces in the department’s fleet.

The 505 car parks were supposed to have been spread across 19 buildings in the Brisbane CBD and Fortitude Valley at a price of $2.6 million per year. Annual charges for the spaces ranged from $1475 to $10,028, meaning the government wasted at least $23,600 per year, and very likely more than that.

The audit also found some people holding passes for actual car spaces no longer worked for the department. Mr Stewart confirmed those people who were not entitled to car parks no longer had passes.

Record keeping errors also meant that the department paid around $79,000 more in Fringe Benefits Tax than it should have. Mr Stewart said the issue had been resolved but the money had not been recovered.




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