Councils make bold decision on parking fines amid coronavirus outbreak

Across Australia, councils have decided to relax parking fines amid the coronavirus outbreak, with rangers being ordered to take a more flexible approach when placing the dreaded fines on windshields.

The City of Sydney decided on March 20 rangers should take a “flexible approach” when it comes to parking and related infringements in the CBD, which will result in an expected revenue loss of $10 to $15 million.

“The City of Sydney is taking a flexible approach to parking and we have directed our rangers to use discretion,” A City of Sydney spokesperson said.

“We want to make it easier for essential workers to drive into the city, make it easier for people to visit essential services, and not add unnecessary financial burden during this challenging time.”

Most capital cities around Australia have since followed suit.

The City of Brisbane announced parking metres in the CBD have been switched off as of March 27 and fees will be reduced in two major car parks in the city.

“Parking at King George Square and Wickham Terrace car parks will be reduced to $5 all day parking seven days a week,” the council said.

The city said the reason for this was to “support essential workers”.

As part of the City of Perth’s Relief and Rebound Plan, the city council has decided to make street parking up to one hour “free” for the next three months in the CBD to “support local business”.

The City of Melbourne has said officers will still patrol the city to maintain public safety, make sure the streets are clean and respond to complaints made by residents and business.

City councils across Australia are relaxing their stance on parking fines amid the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Getty/City of Melbourne

However, when it comes to dishing out fines, the council will use their “discretion” during these “exceptional times”.

“We will use our discretion and only issue fines when vehicles are parked unsafely,” The City of Melbourne wrote on their website.

“This includes parking in disability bays without a permit, blocking driveways, clearways or lanes, parking in no stopping or no standing zones, parking too close to intersections, or parking in resident permit zones.”

The City of Adelaide also announced Parking and Information Officers would be taking a flexible approach when monitoring parking, especially with vehicles in timed and ticketed zones.

“Council’s decision is not designed to enable people to park all day on street regardless of the time limit or parking control,” the council advises.

Parking rangers are being asked to use their discretion and only issue fines under certain circumstances. Source: AAP

“We ask that people follow the controls in place, but we will be flexible, within reason, where possible. Off-street car parking stations such as UPark or other private parking stations may be a more suitable option for longer term parking.”

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