PR maven Roxy Jacenko has lashed out at City of Sydney Council over a series of parking tickets her staff have received during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Jacenko shared a photo of one fine on her Instagram page, where an employee was slapped with a $116 ticket for parking “20 minutes over”, according to the post.
“This is just a disgrace,” she wrote, explaining that her staff are following government directions by avoiding public transport and driving to work - only to receive prompt fines as soon as the hourly street parking has expired.
“20 minutes over? To have a job and keep the economy alive?! It’s a pandemic and the train isn’t safe!!! This is mayhem,” the post reads.
The businesswoman, who owns five companies in Paddington including Sweaty Betty PR, also shared the letter she penned to council at the end of July, claiming she was being unfairly targeted by parking officers.
“I employ 20 staff whom have to move their cars on the hour, in accordance with parking signs, halting work productivity but also exposing them to the dangers of the current pandemic,” Ms Jacenko wrote.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we have been issued with a number of fines to which we have paid immediately but it’s getting ridiculous, we are targeted daily by the parking officers.
“This issue of signage needs your immediate attention - how we are to operate a business when staff need to run and move their cars every hour is ludicrous.”
Ms Jacenko said she has paid for all her staff’s fines because she doesn’t believe they should be “penalised for getting up and going to work”.
To date, Ms Jacenko hasn’t received a reply since the July 27 email to council, prompting her to “stoop to using social media” in order to get a response.
Her post did, however, ignite hundreds of replies from her Instagram followers - with opinions divided over whether or not Ms Jacenko’s gripe is warranted.
“Welcome to the real world,” one woman said.
“This could not scream white privilege more if it tried,” another wrote. “This is an issue to MANY Australians, You chose to have your businesses there!! You can still get public transport? Park further away and walk? Like MANY of us. Sorry but come on. Snap out of your bubble.”
Others sided with Ms Jacenko, calling out council for being overzealous.
“Fining people during these unprecedented times is unjust,” one Instagram user said.
Others called the fine “ridiculous” and “frustrating” and said they had dealt with similar situations in other parts of Sydney and Melbourne.
A City of Sydney spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia they have “done their best” to respond to COVID-19 appropriately.
“More people are working from home than ever before, putting increased pressure on parking availability in our residential areas. Many are also choosing to drive to work, relying on the same limited parking availability. This has placed unprecedented pressure on our parking spaces – pressure that would only be exacerbated if we relaxed restrictions further,” the spokesperson said.
“The City is unable to provide free parking permits for all city workers as this would result in unmanageable parking pressure and generate a significant increase in traffic congestion as cars circle looking for parks.
“We need to enforce parking restrictions to ensure our limited street parking is fairly distributed.”
The council said it has prioritised support for emergency services and front line workers, issuing 1400 parking permits to doctors, nurses, police officers and Red Cross staff.
“We will continue working to ensure those who need parking most have it available to them, and that parking spots are fairly distributed,” the spokesperson said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.