'Low' fines don't deter city parkers

The Sun-Herald

Sunday 29 April 2001
State Political Editor

SOME parking fines are so low they no longer act as a deterrent, according to a senior police officer.

City police parking patrol co-ordinator Jan Whalan said some motorists were willing to park illegally and pay fines for the convenience of driving in Sydney's central business district.

For example, a motorist who parks illegally on a footpath in the city faces a fine of only $62, which executives can write off as a business expense.

In a letter to the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Ms Whalan said: "As much as the parking police enforce this, it has little impact on the motorist as the offence carries such a low penalty of only $62.

"The penalty is of no deterrent, and to quote one motorist's own words, 'Go ahead and book me, it's cheaper here'.

"The parking police find this very frustrating. Under the current legislation we are only al
lowed to issue the vehicle with one infringement per day unless the vehicle or the offence changes.

"Currently we have no authority to arrange for a tow of the vehicle as this only applies to clearways and bus lanes.

"It is my opinion that the penalty for this offence should be greater than $62. It should be increased to $206 to bring it into line with the offence for stopping on a pedestrian crossing."
Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby described parking fine anomalies as "stupid".

He told State Parliament's Staysafe Committee last week that motorists who parked on pedestrian crossings should face a penalty of three demerit points.

A spokesman for Sydney Lord Mayor Frank Sartor said the average daily number of infringement notices for parking on the footpath was between one and five.

He said that while police could only fine offenders $62, city council officers had the power to impose $110 fines.