Parking fines net almost $500,000 for Tweed council
PARKING inspectors have been hard at work racking up $489,927 in parking fines from the Tweed Shire Council region.
The council issued 2244 fines last financial year up from 2014-15 when 2164 drivers were hit with infringement notices totalling $436,835.
Already 282 fines with a face value of $60,798 have been sent out over the July-September period.
It might seem like a huge pay day for the council but not when compared to the $1.38 million in tickets from Byron Shire Council last financial year.
That monumental figure made Byron it the third biggest issuer of parking fines in regional NSW, behind only Newcastle ($2.8 million) and Wollongong ($2.2 million).
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 unauthorised 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.