Free parking in the Ballarat CBD was a major election carrot for voters, but there is little clarity around the project in the lead up to Monday's budget.
In the dying moments of the state election campaign last year, Premier Daniel Andrews announced he would fund 1000 free car parks in the Ballarat CBD, for a cool $14 million.
Free parking remained a hot button topic at the time, and a sure-fire winner with voters, as City of Ballarat struggled to convince residents to shell out for a parking spot across a wider footprint of the city.
The promise seemed so lucrative that the unsuccessful state Liberal Party, lead by former opposition leader Matthew Guy, put its own spin on things by pledging 1500 free car parks for $20 million dollars.
But more than six months on, concrete details of the plans are still scarce on the ground.
At the time, Mr Andrews said that "a number" of multi-deck car parks would be created out of the cash, but did not say if on-street parking would also feature in the $14 million plan.
City of Ballarat's director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo said the council had not been advised by the state government "as to how the roll out of these car parks will work".
He said the council's current parking plan would not be affected even if money is allocated for free parking in Monday's budget, with it "already rolling out".
But when the Ballarat parking plan was approved on February 20, councillors noted the overall parking plan was kept "fluid" in preparation for free car parking to be funded by the state government.
Two key activity areas in Ballarat - the hospital precinct and the CBD - are only going to feel more parking pressure in the next few years.
While the state government's GovHub precinct will be hosting an additional 1000 public servants right near the city's most popular restaurants and community spaces, another 1000 will be on their way to the Ballarat Base Hospital in 2026, when works are complete on a $461.1 million upgrade.
Works on council's off-street parking continue, with 300-space car park on Creswick Road still under construction. Changes are completed or on the way for Zone 2 streets including Lyons Street North, Ripon, Eyre, Princes, and Mill and Seymour streets.
Wendouree MP Juliana Addison said said the "reasoning and rationale" behind the promise was to encourage shoppers into the CBD and bolster local business, but said she doesn't currently know how it would roll out.
"We want to ensure people can shop locally," she said, as store owners had reported unless shoppers could park directly out the front they wouldn't visit.
"This project is about incentivising people to shop in our CBD ... we are going to work out what that looks and how that is going to be."
When it was first announced, Mr Andrews said council needed to "get past its obsession with making people pay more to park".