Park once, pay multiple fines all day.

Daily Telegraph

Thursday 11 December 2003



DRIVERS who ignore time limits at parking meters could face multiple fines under a review of parking laws.

Too many drivers are getting away with just one fine when they could be slugged with several for over-staying parking restrictions, a report by the NSW Auditor General has concluded.

And it also found the penalties are not harsh enough for people who leave their cars in dangerous places.

Drivers who park all day in a 30-minute zone, for example, can only be fined once under current legislation.

Roads Minister Carl Scully has ordered the Roads and Traffic Authority to review the legislation, it was revealed last night.

Assistant Auditor-General Tom Jambrich yesterday said the State Government had failed to implement recommendations made more than four years ago to restructure the parking fine system.

The review found:

  • DESPITE a Government commitment in 1999 to change the law, it still prevents multiple fines being issued for the same offence on the same day;
  • A “SLIDING scale” of penalties would allow potentially dangerous offences, such as parking across driveways or on blind corners, to carry heavier fines; and
  • OVERSEAS tourists are getting away with not paying their parking fines because of bungling bureaucrats.

Mr Jambrich said the system needed to be reviewed because of “inequities”.

“There should be some deterrent that people don't stay in the same spot for a long period of time so that the person who overstays 15 minutes is fined the same as the person who overstays five hours,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“The consequences should be different from parking all day in a bay and getting the same fine as parking on a corner and causing a danger to oncoming traffic.

“There ought to be a differentiation.” The audit found NSW had no system in place to get parking fines out of tourists before they leave the country.

About 7000 fines are waived every year.

The State Government is also losing $32 million a year in revenue because of bungling within the Infringement Processing Bureau.  The Daily Telegraph earlier this year exposed delays in sending out fines before the six-month statute of limitations had expired.

Bureaucratic debt collectors also sent out thousands of fines to the wrong people, some after 18 years, following errors in record-keeping procedures.