Council moves to controversial new parking fine system despite ‘transparency’ concerns

The move was announced on Friday then began on Monday.

An Aussie council announced a new parking fine system on Friday which experts warn could "reduce transparency" for drivers.

Northern Beaches Council in NSW revealed the system — called the Revenue NSW Print and Post service — begins on Monday which means that instead of the usual docket found on a windscreen, parking notices will be "uploaded onto the server" and then sent "within 2-3 days" to the car owner through email or post.

The move, adopted by about 38 councils in the state at this stage, has brought with it concerns those hoping to contest a fine will not have the ability to do so as they will not know they have one until days, or even weeks later.

Left image shows a Council officer issuing a parking fine. Right image shows a docket with a parking fine in Northern Beaches Council.
Northern Beaches Council announced the move away from dockets on Friday. Source: Northern Beaches Council/Facebook

NRMA continues to express concern about the new method, and spokesperson Peter Khoury told Yahoo News Australia they're concerned it significantly reduces transparency in the system.

"While we understand councils have to manage parking and we can't have people abusing the system, [the move] reduces the ability for those who feel they have a right to contest [their fine]."

Khoury explained this could include instances where there was inadequate signage, where a sign was hidden, or other circumstances that may mean a review of a fine is successful.

Why has the move come about?

According to the Northern Beaches Council, Revenue NSW introduced the system in response to issues with the docket system including recipients being confused by the docket style fines, and their "limited information", "fines being removed, leaving people unaware" of it, and "administrative costs and staff resources required".

"This new system offers a significant cost saving to council and our ratepayers, is more environmentally friendly and provides recipients with more information about the offence," Council said.

At this stage, with the move only announced on Friday and it being an operational decision that did not require a decision from Council, they have not had the opportunity to gauge the sentiment of thecommunity.

How does it work?

  • Council officers will patrol as usual, then will "capture details of the offence" — including relevant images — onto their device.

  • These details and images are then uploaded onto the server, which Revenue NSW downloads each day.

  • After downloading offences, Revenue NSW retrieves the vehicle owner’s details, and "prints and posts" the fine on behalf of the council.

  • The person receives the notice via email (or post) and can also view any images on the myPenalty page on the Revenue NSW website.

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