Council stands firm on 'unfair' parking fines after outcry from drivers

One of Australia's most important councils is reportedly making the decision to prioritise parking ranger safety.

After public outcry from drivers calling the transition to paperless parking fines "unfair", it seems one council is standing firm on its decision to stick with them, believing it is in the best interest of the rangers to keep the process as it is.

The City of Sydney transitioned away from physical infringements placed on windscreens back in late 2022 and reportedly plan to keep it that way despite NSW Finance Minister Courtney Housso urging councils to acknowledge the flaws with the digital process last week.

The delay in notifications to drivers is of particular concern with motorists arguing it is difficult for them to gather evidence and contest a parking fine if they don't receive word until days later via a letter in the post or an alert in the Service NSW app, with Housso also pointing to this.

A row of cars parked on a street in a council area that has adopted paperless parking fines.
Many councils in NSW have transitioned to paperless parking fines in recent years. Source: City of Sydney

The minister encouraged councils that currently use paperless parking fines to turn back toward printed tickets — or at the very least pre-printed cards which alerts drivers they have been booked and a fine is on its way. It was confirmed no new councils will be able to sign up to the system.

Sydney council prioritising ranger safety

However the City of Sydney believes paperless infringements is in the best interests of parking rangers as it minimises potential confrontations between them and frustrated motorists who cop a fine.

The digital system "improves safety for rangers who often face abuse and aggression from members of the public while doing their job" a council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia. The spokesperson also said it is ultimately the driver's responsibility to park legally at all times.

Council has not however gone as far as to confirm it will continue with paperless tickets, saying it was "reviewing" Housso's request at this stage.

The City of Sydney council issued over 265,000 parking infringements during the financial year 2023-2024 — the first full financial year that paperless penalties were issued. This means the council are on track to make $2.6 million more than initially budgeted from "enforcement" saying a higher volume of fines were issued than anticipated.

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