Tourists at Aussie hotspot flout parking rule despite new $300 fine

Councils are rolling out overnight parking bans across the country.

Councils across the country are cracking down on overnight parking in public car parks as tourists crowd popular holiday destinations and look for a free overnight stopover.

The issue was highlighted over the weekend when an L-plater was blasted by a local for taking up two parking spaces with a tent and ladder extension coming from their parked car at Woods Bay, Noosa Heads, with the car park allegedly "filling fast" despite it being early morning.

"This was not the only one overnight camping in the area," the local wrote online, urging the council to enforce the 'no-parking' rule between 10pm and 4am which has been in trial in the area since last August. Breaking this rule would see overnight campers being fined $309.

Tourists at Woods Bay in Noosa Heads park over two parking spaces with a tent and ladder extending over the spaces.
Tourists at a popular spot in Noosa were spotted camping overnight in the car park despite it being illegal to do so. Source: Facebook

Aussies divided over 'no overnight parking' rules

Alongside the man who flagged the issue, other locals admitted they find it "annoying" to have public car parks full of overnight visitors.

"[It's] bloody frustrating for a local to get a car park at the national park first thing in the morning when it's full of reversed-in camper vans," one wrote.

However others pushed back against the local's gripe believing those who have an issue need to "leave these people alone" while pointing out the drivers' living situations are not known.

"How do you know they're not homeless?" one questioned after the local wrote the driver was "clearly not".

"It is so sad. Ten years ago and everything was fine, but now people seem [to be] chasing campers all the time," one wrote, while another said, "God forbid someone camps in their car for free".

Overnight parking crackdown and homelessness

Councils across the east and west coast of Australia have introduced 'no overnight parking’ rules to combat overcrowded car parks including several councils in Perth and Sydney.

Richard MacGillivray, the Noosa Shire Council's Director of Development and Regulation, told Yahoo News the parking ban was helping to stop drivers from camping overnight after receiving 84 complaints so far this year.

"Parking officers, along with assistance from Queensland Police Service, continue to deal with those who flout the parking and camping laws with patrols conducted several times a day — including early morning and into the evening, and offenders are issued with fines," he said.

However with the housing crisis forcing many Aussies to live out of their car those already vulnerable could now face fines, and have even more limited options when it comes to where they can sleep.

When the overnight parking trial in Noosa Woods was announced last year the mayor Clare Stewart assured the public that council rangers would be able to offer assistance to those who need support finding housing, and that was reassured again by MacGillivray.

"People in genuine need due to rental and housing issues, who may be living in cars, are not the target of Council’s illegal camping enforcement efforts," he said. "Council’s Local Laws Officers are trained

to recognise people in genuine need and assist with referrals to services that may be able to support them to find accommodation."

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