Media Release

PCA Congratulates NSW Government on Decision to Transfer Parking Enforcement to Councils

Wednesday 29 November 2000
PCA Congratulates NSW Government on Decision to Transfer Parking Enforcement to Councils

The Chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA), Mr Harold Scruby, today congratulated the NSW Government on its decision to transfer all parking enforcement responsibilities to Local Government.

Mr Scruby said: "The PCA was instrumental in convincing the NSW Government to make this decision.

"This has been the result of our five-year campaign to move all parking enforcement responsibilities from the NSW Police Service controlled Parking Patrol Officers (PPOs) to NSW Councils.

"Over four years ago, we obtained the written support of the RTA: (copy of letter attached - quote): `Council parking enforcement may facilitate optimum deployment of Police resources, so that enforcement is focussed more precisely on key driver behaviours which contribute to much of our road trauma'.

Mr Scruby said: "In September 1996, we appealed to the then newly appointed Police Commissioner, Mr Peter Ryan, (copy attached) to undertake an independent inquiry into Parking Enforcement. In spite of many attempts, we were unsuccessful.

"Having failed to convince the Police Commissioner, we took our concerns to the then Auditor-General, Mr Tony Harris, and convinced him, that in the interests of Road Safety (and the enormous costs of Road Trauma), and efficiency generally, an Independent Inquiry into Parking Enforcement was vital

"His report, released on 24 November 1999, found that PPOs are extraordinarily inefficient and ineffective. They issue an average of 2,300 PINs (Parking Infringement Notices) per annum, about half the amount issued in most other states and one third of those issued in cities such as Wellington NZ (7,000 PINs PA). They are generally unaccountable, poorly managed and have been permitted to adopt work-practices which would make a wharfie blush. Their focus and priority is commerce, not safety. They can spot an expired parking meter at half a mile, but are culturally incapable of booking taxis stopped in pedestrian zones, motorists in bus-zones, couriers on footpaths and double-parked trucks.

"In his defence, we have great support for Mr Ryan and believe he has vastly improved the efficiency and morale of the NSW Police Service. He may have been initially poorly informed or seen Parking Enforcement as a low priority. We wish to congratulate Commissioner Ryan as he has now decided to embrace change and has realised that Parking Enforcement should be transferred to Local Councils, a move we know has the support of most NSW police," Mr Scruby said.

"Local Government is far better equipped to manage the 3E's of Street Parking management: Education, Engineering and Enforcement, freeing police to focus on fighting crime and assisting in reducing our appalling Road Toll which is now nearly 10% up on last year.

Mr Scruby said: "We now call upon the Minister for Roads and Transport, Mr Scully and the RTA to undertake a review of all parking fines, as recommended by the Auditor-General.

"Currently, the fines and penalties are a veritable dog's breakfast. Some actually serve to encourage motorists to stop and park dangerously. We must educate motorists to understand that dangerous parking, such as stopping in pedestrian or bus zones, double-parking, or parking and blocking footpaths, can have the same deadly consequences as dangerous driving. The Government must urgently change the fines and penalties to properly reflect the gravity of these offences and to discourage such dangerous behaviour," he said.