Dodgy parkers get off scot-free in Clarence Valley

IF YOU wanted to park like an idiot and get away with it, last year was definitely your time to shine.

Office of State Revenue figures reveal Clarence Valley Council only issued 33 fines in 2015-16, bringing in a measly $3569 in revenue.

Compare that to the previous year - when 505 tickets valued at $63,508 were issued - and it becomes obvious something was not right in 2015-16.

>> SEE ALSO: Grafton CBD faces parking crisis

The council's environment, planning and community director Des Schroder explained the sharp reduction was simply a matter of understaffing.

"When staffing is limited the focus is always on dangerous dog control," he said.

"It always will be. We are now back to a full quota of rangers and parking enforcement has returned.

"We issued more than 80 infringements in the first quarter of this year."

Indeed the figures show 80 tickets were issued during the July-September period of this year, slugging dodgy parkers with $11,096 in fines.

New South Wales councils as a whole issued 1.28 million fines equalling more than $185 million in revenue - up about $5 million on 2014-15.

The figures come in a climate where NSW's parking tickets are as much as four times as expensive as those in Victoria.

Roads and Maritime Services figures show the most common offence - parking continuously longer than permitted - carries a $106 fine in NSW, compared to $30 in Victoria and $88 in Queensland.

A $531 fine awaits any unathorised person parking in a disabled zone in NSW, compared to $152 in Victoria.

Stopping on or near a school or level crossing will earn drivers in NSW a $319 bill compared to $148 in Victoria.

The National Roads and Motorists' Association has called for new laws forcing local governments to set aside all parking fine revenue for local road upgrades, but so far the plea has fallen on deaf ears.

"It is acknowledged that many local government authorities across NSW are cash strapped with revenue streams continuing to dry up," the NRMA report states.

"As a result, local councils are not always in a financial position to adequately maintain existing road infrastructure to a satisfactory standard, particularly where federal and state funding assistance for local roads is insufficient.

"However, a shortfall in revenue must not be addressed by unfairly targeting motorists as cash cows."

The study found more than $457 million could have been reinvested back into local roads over the three years from 2011-12 to 2013-14 if local road funds financed by parking fines had been established.

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