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Parking fines: Move to Melbourne

People who no longer live in Sydney often say they left because of traffic and parking headaches. Even Melburnians pay much lower fines for the same offences than Sydneysiders, who are racking up huge parking fines. Meanwhile, councillors in Adelaide are calling for CBD parking fines to be cut in half because they are deterring visitors.

Did you know there are nearly 140 parking offences in NSW?

Figures from the NSW Office of State Revenue show the value of parking fines issued in 2015-16 was $185.5 million. Councils in NSW collected more than $161 million of this for their coffers.

The most common offences in NSW are parking in a no stopping zone, parking for longer than allowed, and not displaying a parking ticket at all. In 2013-14, disobeying a no stopping sign raised $31.4 million and parking for longer than allowed raised $27.3 million.

Interestingly, Sydneysiders are hit daily with parking fines that are more than three times higher than Melbourne drivers – for exactly the same offence.

Offence

Sydney fine compared
to Melbourne
Parking for too long 3.5 times more
Parking in disabled zone 3.5 times more
Parking at incorrect angle 3.5 times more
Stopping within 20m of traffic lights 2.7 times more
Stopping on clearway 1.6 times more

Unfortunately, you are presumed guilty unless you take the time to prove otherwise. This has upset many a harried motorist who does the right thing.

The NRMA claims that councils that have an internal review process give motorists a simpler, better way to appeal their parking fines than having to deal with the State Debt Recovery Office. Parramatta Council, for example, set up an Adjudication Panel and revenue from fines between 2011-12 and 2013-14 fell by 35%. Hurstville Council set up a similar Commonsense Parking panel.

Conversely, in 2015-16, Mosman Council’s bad and doubtful debts for parking fines alone were $444,000! The Council also charged nearly $4 million in fees for parking on the foreshores and streets, including residential parking stickers. It collects parking fines on top of that.

Fines for parking are ranked by level of severity in NSW. For example, fines for disability parking in NSW rocketed to $637 in 2014 to deter people from parking in disabled zones. Here is an idea of how they rank:

Fines for parking offences

Disobey no parking sign $108
Disobey no stopping sign $253
Stop at road with continuous yellow edge line $253
Stop on/near pedestrian crossing $325
Display altered/defaced/mutilated/illegible parking ticket $541
Display mobility parking scheme authority in contravention of condition
$650

The short answer is, if you want to reduce your parking fines, move to Melbourne. Or better yet, take a bus.