Monday, September 1, 2008

Thousands rage over parking fine tactics

NEARLY 100,000 angry motorists deluged the Office of State Revenue with appeals against unfair council parking fines last year, confirming public unrest about enforcement tactics.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal appeals against parking fines accounted for more than half the 182,552 appeals against total fines - including other traffic offences, animal offences, fare evasion and breaches of water restrictions.

The 99,656 appeals for leniency against parking fines lodged in 2007 is equal to about one in every 12 fines issued by parking rangers in NSW.

The leniency appeal figures, revealed in documents obtained under Freedom of Information, show 21,314 got off their parking infringement with a "caution" or "no action" result. Of 182,552 who lodged appeals for all types of fines, 45,339 were granted.

The figures follow The Daily Telegraph revealing yesterday that councils set another record for fines in the 2007-08 financial year, issuing 1,225,024 fines - one every 27 seconds.

The September 13 local government elections are set to be a referendum on a fair go for motorists as scores of candidates, including rugby league star Craig Wing, run on parking reform platforms.

An undercurrent of reform sweeping the coming council elections could see parking meters free for up to 30 minutes, switched off on Sundays and, in some cases, removed in an attempt to end the record growth in fine revenue revealed yesterday as $132 million a year.

City of Sydney mayoral candidate Shayne Mallard has vowed to overhaul parking meters outside the CBD, introducing 15 minutes free parking and switching them off on Sundays.

"Owning a car should not be treated as a crime in the City of Sydney . . . we will end the discrimination against car owners in this city," he said.

He said residents who sign a "carbon pledge" to sell their car will receive a $500 cash incentive for car share, public transport or buying a bike to ease the pressures on parking in the city.

While Leichhardt Council has 15 minutes free parking in pockets, candidate Gordon Weiss vowed to introduce 30 minutes free parking across the council.

Randwick is home to the first parking-specific political party, No Parking Meters, and with rugby league star Wing among their ranks, they are capitalising on the sentiment against meters.


Gio said...

Parking in the City of Sydney is just a disgrace. The current council doesn't give a fair deal to car owners!! I am sick of clover moore and the Greens lecturing me about using public transport when the infrastructure is so abysmal. Thank God at least one councillor wants to try and fix the problem.

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