Half a million in parking fines

WATCH where you park! That’s the message being sent out to Tweed motorists following revelations Tweed Shire Council raked in nearly $600,000 in parking fines last financial year.

The council issued $592,951 in fines in the financial year to June 20 – the second-highest on the NSW North Coast after Byron Shire which stung illegal parkers $1.35 million.

By comparison the third-heaviest fining council in the region, Lismore City, collected just $190,404.

Tweed Shire Council’s regulatory services co-ordinator Paul Brouwer yesterday warned motorists to be careful in illegal parking “hotspots” which he said included disabled zones and school zones.

But he defended the council from claims of revenue-raising from parking fines, saying the 70 per cent of fines it got back from the State Government went to the costs of enforcement, wages and “safety programs etc”.

Although the amount of fines issued on the Tweed is more than three times the total six years ago in 2002/03, he said the council then had only one parking officer employed to cover the whole shire.

“There are now two officers and another officer fills in these positions when they are on RDO, sick leave, annual leave, etc.,” Mr Brouwer said.

“So realistically, Council has increased the parking staff to approx 2.5.

“The parking officers patrol the main CBD areas of Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Kingscliff, with occasionalpatrols in the other coastal areas.

“They also action complaints by the public within these localities.”

Mr Brouwer said disabled zones and school zones were hot spots, and different schools are patrolled periodically throughout the day.

“The correct parking ofvehicles is essential to ensure the safety of children, as children are vulnerable road-users,” he warned.

“They are at risk in the traffic environment because of their size, their difficulty in judging speed and distance and also the fact that they may behave unpredictably.

“Ensuring correct parking practices are adhered to in school zones provides helps to contribute to the safety of children in these areas.”

Mr Brouwer said the annual figures were the total for all the parking infringements issued but did not reflect the amount of money received by the council.

“The actual income received is approx 70 per cent of that figure. It is spent on vehicles, wages, associated enforcement costs - (handheld machines, software, etc), safety programs, etc.

“So it would be incorrect to imply it is revenue raising,” he said.

“Infringement notices aren’t issued to make money - they’re intended as deterrents and have to be high enough to discourage illegal parking. If people obey the laws and park legally, they won’t get a fine.

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