Councils doubt 'kinder' claim
Questions have been asked about the NSW Government’s bid to be “kinder” by reducing parking fines.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says the State Government will reduce parking fines on the roads it maintains, and allow councils to do the same on local roads, which make up 90 per cent of the state’s road network.
The Government reportedly believes that by putting councils under pressure it will be too embarrassing for them to not reduce fines.
But the move may backfire, by leading to further reductions in road maintenance, increased congestion and reduced council services.
“Local government is strongly supportive of moves that make real and meaningful improvements to the lives of residents and ratepayers,” Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said.
“But this announcement appears to be a bit of a trick involving smoke and mirrors.
“Parking restrictions exist to improve road safety and manage traffic congestion – and fines are imposed on the small percentage of motorists who breach those restrictions.
“The parking fines then get reinvested in road maintenance, community infrastructure and council services.
“Reducing the amount available for reinvestment actually reduces maintenance on our roads, which seems very counterproductive.
“It also seems unfair that the vast majority of residents and ratepayers who don’t overstay parking times should be impacted.
“The Treasurer clearly hasn’t thought through the negative impact this could have on residents – especially those already being driven to distraction by road construction and traffic congestion.”
In a range of Council areas, including the City of Sydney, 50 per cent of the revenue from Council parking fines after processing fees are returned directly to the State Government.
Of the $35 million in parking contributions collected by the City of Sydney in the last financial year, approximately $12 million was spent on processing fees and a further $12 million was returned directly to the NSW State Government.
“If the NSW Treasurer is genuine about supporting NSW communities, he should ensure the State doesn’t continue to take funding from the pockets of Councils and communities,” Cr Scott said.
He said councils are willing to look at clearer signage, to ensure parking restrictions were easily identified and observed by motorists.