National Capital Authority (NCA) Chief Executive, Malcolm Snow is calling on motorists to park in designated car spaces to improve the safety of children, pedestrians and cyclists on National Land.
'With the recent warm weather, an increasing number of people are out enjoying the central parts of Canberra. This is great to see, however unfortunately people are choosing to park their vehicles under trees and not in designated car parks. With pedestrians, children and cyclists also using these areas, there is a serious public safety risk if this practice continues.
'Many of the cars are parked close to access paths, playgrounds and barbeque facilities. Young children should be able to run around these open spaces, or cyclists to use the shared paths without the risk of being injured from a reversing car.
'There are ample car spaces available for motorists, so I am encouraging Canberrans to walk that little bit longer, so everyone can enjoy our beautiful parks and open spaces in safety,' he said.
It is an offence to park a vehicle on open space and landscaped areas at any time. This includes access paths, grassed areas and paved surfaces in and around the national institutions, Commonwealth Park, Old Parliament House Gardens, East and West Lawns, and Kings Park.
'Vehicles driving and parking on open space can also cause damage to the landscape such as lawns, tree roots, and irrigation systems,' Mr Snow said.
'Replacing plants, grass and sprinkler heads diverts resourcing away from maintaining other areas of the central national area. Mature trees declining as a result of soil compaction from heavy vehicles is a more difficult issue to remedy.
'People come to these spaces because of the beautiful setting, however because of their thoughtless actions the amenity is destroyed.'
The NCA manages the pay parking arrangements on National Land in Canberra on behalf of the Australian Government, including the enforcement of breaches of parking regulations.
NCA parking inspectors will target vehicles parked on open space and landscaped areas on National Land over the coming weeks, including weekends, in an effort to change behaviour.