$500 per minute / That's how much we owe in parking fines
The Daily TelegraphMonday 20 July 1998
|By FIONA CONNOLLY
NSW parking officers are issuing, on average, almost $500 in parking fines every minute, bringing in more money than any other part of Australia.
A Daily Telegraph study has also revealed parking fines in NSW are up to seven times as high for the same offence committed in other states and are more than $30 above the national average.
Yet despite boasting the nation's most expensive parking fines, NSW is the second most unlikely place, after Queensland, to be booked for illegal parking.
Parking infringement statistics reveal NSW parking officers are each responsible for a potential 4000 vehicles, with other state parking authorities patrolling only half this amount.
NSW's notorious "grey ghosts" are issuing more than $70 million worth of parking fines each year -about $13 for every driver in NSW.
Statistically, one in 16 NSW drivers last year returned to a loathed yellow envelope on their windscreens.
In comparison, every second Tasmanian driver was hit by a parking fine.
But the cost of infringements should ease Tasmanian drivers hip pocket pain -they pay $8 for parking at an expired meter, while NSW drivers pay $60.
Drivers who parked illegally in the Sydney CBD contributed $16 million to the statewide $72 million annual revenue for parking infringements.
It was also discovered the overwhelming majority of Sydney drivers were fined for parking in a No Standing zone -a $60 fine.
The 60,000 Sydney drivers who stopped in No Standing zones in the city centre, contributed an impressive $3 million to the overall figure.
The 10,000 Sydney drivers who parked in allocated Disabled Parking and No Stopping zones in the city centre, copped a $123 fine and contributed another $1.2 million to the overwhelming annual revenue.
Reacting to The Daily Telegraph's findings, Sydney Lord Mayor, Frank Sartor yesterday criticised the NSW police service for its sluggish efforts in issuing parking infringements.
"I am still disappointed in the NSW police service in terms of their performance in booking parking offenders," he said.
At the same time, a new AC Neilsen survey has also claimed law enforcement in "no stopping" zones around Sydney is virtually non existent.
According to the survey, hundreds of vehicles, especially taxis, stopped in the no stopping zones during a three-hour period without being caught.
The survey was carried out at four places -one in North Sydney and three in the city.
"At Martin Place and Pitt St the infringements were so common that some were missed due to lack of time to record," the survey says. Conducted on behalf of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, the survey also found it "extremely unlikely" for offenders to be booked by any enforcement organisation even if officers saw the offence occurring.
PCA chairman Harold Scruby yesterday called on the government to initiate an urgent independent inquiry into the workplace practices and activities of NSW parking patrol officers, who generally "turn a blind eye" to poor driving by taxis, armoured vehicles, couriers, tradesmen and commercial operators.
Fine for parking at expired meter
* NSW $60 * Victoria $40 * SA $38 * ACT $37 * Queensland $30 * WA $25 * NT $20 * Tasmania $8
Parking fine revenue 1996-97
* NSW $72m * Victoria $68m * Queensland $11m * ACT $5.3m * SA $5.9m * WA $6.6m * NT $960,000 * Tasmania $2.3m