Byron's $1.1m tops parking revenue for country councils

BYRON SHIRE raked in more than $1.1 million in parking fines in 2006-07, making it the highest-ranked country council for parking-related revenue raising.

According to the latest figures released by the Office of State Revenue, Byron Shire is way ahead of all other country councils.

According to the figures, Byron is issuing almost twice as many fines as its nearest challenger, Gosford, which last year issued $620,408 in parking fines.

Byron is also ahead of some metropolitan councils, such as Hornsby and Wollongong, in the money it has made through parking fines.

Lennox Head-based MLC Catherine Cusack said Byron Shire Council should be taken to task for its 'over-zealous enforcement' and for failing to provide adequate parking for motorists.

This figure shows there is a parking crisis in Byron and the council clearly has no intention of doing anything about it," the NSW shadow minister for fair trading said. The Northern Star was unable to contact Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham for comment yesterday.

According to the council's 2005-2006 annual report, the parking plan for Byron Bay has involved preparing a project brief for a consultant.

However, the council now wants to first review its traffic studies for the town centre 'to ascertain currency of recommendations made and actions that have been taken with regards to those recommendations'.

The report states that 'high priority' is being given to parking enforcement.

Ms Cusack said the council should be directing the revenue it is making from parking tickets into solving the parking problems around the shire, and Byron Bay in particular.

No other local government area rated a mention in the Office of State Revenue figures because they did not collect sums from parking tickets greater than $100,000.

Motorists are consumers too and they have been%abandoned by the Department of Fair Trading," Ms Cusack said.

Byron Shire should take this opportunity to explain to residents and visitors what it intends to do to address the parking situation," she said.

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