1 February 2019

ACT Government called on to cut parking fines and introduce ‘10-minutes grace’

| Glynis Quinlan
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There is a call for 10 minutes grace on parking fines for ACT motorists.

The NRMA is calling on the ACT Government to follow the NSW Government’s lead by introducing a 10-minute ‘grace period’ on parking fines as well as reviewing the cost of the fines to ensure they are not just “revenue raising”.

From today, NSW motorists who have paid for ticketed parking for at least an hour won’t receive a fine for getting back to their car up to 10 minutes late.

From 1 March, councils in NSW have also been given the flexibility to lower parking fines – with Yass Valley Council and Eurobodalla Shire Council among 18 councils to opt-in and lower their fines from $112 to $80. The ACT’s most common parking fine is $114 – $34 more than NSW.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the 10-minute grace period on parking fines is “a sensible policy and the ACT Government should adopt it”.

“What we are trying to do is make sure everyone gets a fair chance to park and not turn motorists into cash cows,” Mr Khoury said.

“It’s about not punishing someone who is trying to do the right thing but who may not have got back in time.

“People who are going to abuse the system, generally speaking, are going to stay a lot longer than 10 minutes.”

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said providing a 10-minute grace period is a commonsense approach to parking penalties that doesn’t impact road safety.

“People shouldn’t have their day ruined or their weekly budget compromised for a slight delay in returning to their car when they’ve shown intent to do the right thing,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Stress levels on parking inspectors should also lessen, as they have an opportunity to show some leniency when issuing fines.”

The NSW grace period applies to ticketed or couponed parking, which forms the majority of overstay parking offences. It doesn’t apply to private car parks, to meters which do not issue parking tickets and in areas such as bus lanes, clearways, transit lanes, mail zone and special event parking.

The introduction of the grace period is part of a package of NSW reforms aimed at introducing a fairer approach to parking fines including cutting the 10 most common parking fines by 25 per cent last July, and giving councils the option of reducing fines from 1 March.

Mr Khoury also urged the ACT Government to review their parking penalties to see if they have gone beyond the threshold of what the community finds acceptable.

“It shouldn’t be about revenue raising,” he said. “There are other ways to raise revenue.”

Parking fines can vary significantly in the ACT, with the most common parking fine being $114 for staying in a parking spot longer than permitted. The most expensive parking fine is $600 for parking in an area designated for disabled parking.

ACT parking inspectors issued more than 87,000 parking tickets in the 2017-18 financial year, with fines increasing by six per cent in 2018-19.

ACT Budget papers estimate revenue from parking fines of about $15 million in 2018-19.

Region Media contacted the ACT Government to ask whether it would look at introducing a 10-minute grace period and also review parking penalty amounts. No response had been received at the time of publication.

However, on February 1 an ACT Government spokesperson responded and told Region Media that: “The ACT Government is not currently considering introducing a ‘grace period’ of this kind.”

Have you ever received a parking ticket after getting back to your car a few minutes late? Do you think a 10-minute grace period should be introduced? Let us know about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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The local Gov definitely use parking infringements as revenue raising. Its fair enough to fine in the scarce inner city parking, so everyone has equal access to parks. However, I live on a cul-de-sac in O’Connor, have for 25 years. We had parking inspectors come through and book cars that were parked nose in or facing the “wrong direction”. So on the odd occasion there is a party mid week and mid day when multiple cars are in the street, we can now have about 1/3 of the parking space. Absolute bastardry.

What I will never understand is the regional variations to parking enforcement. I get the general impression enforcement is far more rigorous on the north side of the lake, maybe weekly down in Tuggeranong and hardly ever around Weston Creek. Anyone else got a view?

Sometime late last century, in NSW, I had a job that required me to prepare certificates for courts about who owned a particular vehicle at the time an infringement notice was issued. Way back then, the parking inspector had to show on the infringement notice for overstaying offences how much leeway they had given, and cases were often dismissed if the leeway was too tight and the person had a reasonable excuse such as being delayed at a medical appointment. I thought it was a pretty reasonable approach, and it is good that NSW is returning to the past on this.

A few minutes grace would be good. What would be better is the first 15 minutes free.

@warren I don’t think this is a matter of breaking the law, its a case of changing the law so that its a little more lenient and clarifies that you can be 10 minutes late.

People will still break the law, people will still get tickets.

On a Sunday morning a couple of months ago, myself and my partner were left $120 parking fines on our windscreens for parking on our own front lawn in Kaleen (we have a purpose made gravel parking space). Despite numerous other cars in surrounding streets parking on their front lawns, they did not receive fines – our street was targeted. If this is not revenue raising, I don’t know what is. What is the justification? Now we are scared to park out the front of our own home. And when we tried parking on the street, we were met with angry drivers speeding around the corner nearly hitting our cars.

After sending a letter in, we were refused to be let off and have been fined an additional amount as an “administration” fee to re-send the fine. WHAT A JOKE. Good on you ACT Government – you are really weeding out the rebels in Canberra.

Purpose built parking spot on the nature strip? If so that is against the law. On your own lane not against the law.

My guess is someone complained hence why you were “targeted”.

If only the ‘fix my street ‘ initiative was as effective.

That’s how a lot of these things get picked up.

Near our house cars were parking on 90 degree corner next to a solid white line and just beyond about 4 cars always parked right next to a white line. It was quite dangerous as you had to weave in and out of the cars parked before the corner the whack around the corner was the parked car.

One of my neighbours complained to one of the owners and was told to eff off so he reported the problem through fix my street. A few days later no cars parked on the street next to the solid white line or the corner.

I got fined in the period of walking from my car to buy a parking ticket. The first pay station didn’t work and the second stole one of my dollars. Do they expect us to park within 10 metres of a pay station?

The department responsible have no scruples, at the same time the ACT Government remain happy to waive developer fees for Labor club backed apartments in Braddon and choose not to consistently apply fines on their political supporters.

While I agree that a grace period would be gracious, I think one of the main problems slowly growing in Canberra is the insidious spread of Wilson Parking. I have nothing against this Chinese company, but I wonder how much they take from the ACT Government for the ‘licence’. Also the method use to get around collecting the parking non-fine.

I seek out non-ACT government parking. Who would want to give this Government more money to waste?

Yes – Wilson Parking seem to be getting their tentacles into a lot of new developments.

Wilson parking take nothing from the government because they have nothing to do with government carparks.

Wilson are contracted by private business to collect parking fees and provide enforcement of that businesses carpark.

Secure is another one in Canberra, though think all the carpark they manage on belt of the carpark ow era have boom gates so only really collect payment.

Absolutely ! this is a great idea. Its not going to stop infringement officers waiting by your car, but it’ll just be 10 minutes later.

Win-Win.

Capital Retro7:42 am 01 Feb 19

So many people complaining about the revenue mindset of this government and their heartless response to pleas to waive the fines.

The same people who complain are nevertheless very forgiving because they keep re-electing that same government. Believe it or not.

20th jan, I get a parking fine for the back half of my car parked across my driveway at home on a Sunday afternoon. This is petty and disgusting revenue raising. No one is at risk or inconvenienced by my parking. What the hell are they doing looking for offenders in an outer suburb during the holiday season on a Sunday afternoon?
Do we really want this kind of surveillance? I am aware many others have been booked in nearby suburbs. I understand the safety issues that can be raised ,but this is not a safety issue what so ever in my driveway. The government is desperate for every dollar it can raise to pay for light rail and continue the role out but this is ridiculous.
With an election coming, I’ve been ambushed, without warning. These people will NOT get my vote, and I will tell everyone I know. We have small blocks, small streets and can’t park on the verge.
Where is the common sense? or reasonable judgement of a non threatening situation? Where is the common curtesy of simple warning?
Disgusting revenue raising turning motorists into cash cows.

What is so hard about getting back to your car before the parking time expires?

You are visiting the GP. You arrive at 11 for an 11:15 appointment, so you put one hour on the meter. Assuming all goes well you will be back to your car before 11:45. Otherwise, add more time at 11:15 when your appointment was supposed to be, and make sure you add enough time for the extended wait.

You can make life easier using the Parkmobile app for the parking areas with printed tickets, it will remind you that your parking time is about to expire, so you can extend your parking time from wherever you happen to be.

As for the value of the fees for overstaying parking, fees should be based on the wealth of the offender. One easy proxy for this is the market value of the car. Drive a Suzuki Alto? Your overstay fee is $5. Drive an Audi Q8? Your fee is $5000.

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