Parking cash cow: The Main Beach car park at Byron Bay, one of several popular tourist parking spots heavily policed by Byron Shire Council parking officers.
Parking cash cow: The Main Beach car park at Byron Bay, one of several popular tourist parking spots heavily policed by Byron Shire Council parking officers. Cathy Adams

Drivers slugged $8.5m for parking

BYRON Shire Council issued more than $1.24 million worth of parking fines in the past financial year – $1 million more than any other council in the region.

And, if you look back between July 2003 and August 2010, the council handed out almost $8.5 million in parking offence notices.

Byron’s massive slug on motorists compares with the Richmond Valley Council (RVC), which collected the princely sum of $600 after issuing three infringements last year.

The figure more than halved from the 2008/2009 financial year, when RVC issued $1853 in parking fines.

According to statistics released by the NSW Office of State Revenue, councils across the State issued more than $146 million in parking fines during the past financial year.

While Byron Shire was the obvious leader for parking fine revenue on the Northern Rivers, issuing 12,725 fines, its visitor numbers exceed those of neighbouring areas.

Byron Shire Council executive manager of corporate management Mark Arnold said the shire received more than 1.7 million visitors in 2009.

“With that amount of visitors, the demand on parking is naturally higher than many other local government areas,” he said.

“Time limits apply to assist turnover of parking spaces in the town centre to ensure a constant flow of customers to the retail shops.”

Mr Arnold said the council received a portion of the parking fines after the Office of State Revenue retained a fee for collection.

He said the revenue was returned to council’s general fund, to be used within the local government area.

RVC general manager Brian Wilkinson said his council’s low parking revenue was due to the fact it did not allocate resources to parking monitoring.

“We don’t get ongoing complaints about parking, like other places might,” he said. “The fact there is not an issue means we don’t see a need to have resources devoted to parking, as we would be accused of revenue-raising when we don’t need to.

“We do get action requests for someone who may be continually parking on a footpath and the only way we can enforce it is to issue an infringement notice. I think that is where those three notices came from.

“We do have parking signs, but we do not regulate them.

“Police will sometimes regulate parking restrictions, but it is very rare.”



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