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Man cops $750 in parking fines after minor council change

Luke Burgess received five fines for the same offence.

A Sydney man who racked up $750 worth of parking fines blames an unknown change by council for the five fines he'd received, saying he wasn't aware of his repeated offence until it was too late.

Luke Burgess had been parking in the same spot at Ashfield train station but never received a physical ticket on his car. Three weeks later he received one in the mail instead.

The Inner West Council is one of 40 across New South Wales that's phased out physical parking tickets normally placed on car windscreens. Instead, fines will be emailed or posted at a later date. The new system was first introduced in 2020 and has slowly rolled out across the state.

Luke claims he didn't know parking in smaller bays and motorcycle zones at the station was illegal as he'd seen people park there before.

Sydney man parking fines on phone.
Sydney man Luke Burgess received five parking fines totalling $750. Source: 9News

"I copped it on the chin and thought maybe it's not the right thing to do and stopped parking there, but within the time period it took to receive the notification I continued to receive more parking fines," he told 9News.

In total, Luke received five fines each costing $150, making his outstanding amount owing $750. The Sydney man admitted fault but claims he wasn't given the opportunity to avoid further penalty by not parking there again, simply because the first fine took so long to arrive.

Problematic new parking fine system

Peter Khoury from NRMA agreed delayed fines in the mail can be problematic. "You want to alert people there and then that they've done the wrong thing," he said.

He previously expressed his concern over the new paperless system which eliminates transparency.

Parking fine on car windscreen.
40 NSW councils no longer leave fine notices on cars and will mail it out instead. Source: 9news

"It’s a lot harder to [contest fines] after the event where you would have to go back and try and remember where you parked and why you overstayed or if there was another reason,” he said, according to the Guardian.

Avinash Singh, the principal lawyer at Astor Legal, agreed and told the Daily Telegraph that the new ticketless system makes fines "impossible to contest".

"If you get a parking ticket on the vehicle, you can take photos… if you get something in the mail a week later, a lot of the time it’s going to be difficult for you to recall where exactly you were parking, and it makes it impossible to contest," he said.

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