There is a need to re-examine car parking policies in Australian cities as the allocation of excessive or inappropriate forms of parking comes with significant opportunity costs. This includes inhibiting priority of active and sustainable transport modes and implementation of equitable spatial, housing and community outcomes. Parking is a complex phenomenon, with high levels of interdependence at multiple governance scales and significant consequences for the effective functioning of cities. However, parking policy is often provided on the basis of limited strategic planning, and much current practice continues to be characterised by outdated, unused or poorly examined and aligned tools. This paper argues that a fundamental shift from static to strategic planning for car parking management is required to achieve a number of higher tier planning goals. To do this, current knowledge surrounding the provision of car parking via urban planning mechanisms, and the impacts of car parking on cities are examined, and a review of policies in Perth and Melbourne is undertaken. Comparisons between two Australian cases, as well as between current practices and emergent knowledge suggest that despite some promising movements, fundamental shifts to enable transformational changes have not occurred within the last decade or so, including the persistence of elements of predict-and-provide approaches. The paper recommends changes to address this strategic gap, including more responsive approaches, strategic long term visions utilising policy integration with innovative and collaborative approaches, and the application of successful approaches from CBD environments to other urban centres.