Have you been unfairly fined? Million dollar refund bill after Sydney speed camera bungle

Mike Duffy

Seven News can reveal a major speed camera bungle has led to thousands of Sydney drivers being unfairly fined and losing demerit points.

One of the city’s busiest motorways was changed from a fixed speed limit to a variable one, but motorists were not properly warned.

Rod Oxley said he was a careful driver who had no intention of speeding through the Eastern Distributor.

Rod Oxley said he received no official explanation after he was wrongly fined in Sydney's Eastern Distributor tunnel. Photo: 7 News

“After you’ve been driving for a while you get to know what the limits are and stick within them,” he said.

He has been using the tunnel since it was built in 2000 and it has always had an 80 kilometre per hour limit, so he did 79kph.

Mr Oxley said he was shocked when a fine arrived in the post.

“I couldn’t quite believe it, and I said to my wife, 'this doesn’t seem right',” he said.

The limit was fixed at 80kph but on October 10 a variable system was activated, allowing authorities to suddenly switch the limit to 60kph, or even as low as 40kph.

The trouble is, the government failed to give the public adequate warning of the new system and thousands of drivers were caught out.

Seven News has learned when Roads and Maritime Services switched on the variable signs, the number of fines exploded.

Almost $1m worth of fines need to be refunded, and the drivers stung by the bungle can also expect their demerit points to be restored. Photo: 7 News

Now it is being forced by the Transport Department to refund 3500 fines worth almost $1 million, and return the demerit points, which would be cold comfort to any driver who has already lost their license.

On Tuesday, one could see and hear additional warnings in the tunnel, so newer fines will stand.

“It’s a horrible situation, certainly it’s unsatisfactory that matters have unfolded in the way that they have,” Andrew Tiedt from Armstrong Legal said.

Mr Oxley’s fine has already been cancelled, but without any reason.

“There has been no explanation at all in the notice that I got as to why this occurred,” he said.