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.