The changes will give councils the flexibility to reduce the typical $112 parking fine to $80. Picture: Elenor Tedenborg
The changes will give councils the flexibility to reduce the typical $112 parking fine to $80. Picture: Elenor Tedenborg

Parking fines eased in time for schools return

MUMS and dads getting back into the school run will be among the first to benefit from a new 10-minute grace period before parking fines are issued.

As exclusively revealed by The Telegraph in June, the cash-saving reform will become a reality on January 31, when it will be applied to all paid public parking zones across the state - just in time for the new school year.

It's understood up to 82,000 motorists across the state every year could be spared the $112 fine for overstaying on the condition they have paid for an hour of parking, have proof of a ticket and overstayed by less than 10 minutes.

However, the grace period will only apply to paper-ticket parking zones and not where there are electronic meters or non-metered parking zones.

The government doubled down on parking reforms this week, also passing regulations that will give NSW councils the power to slash their parking fines by 25 per cent.

This means stubborn councils who previously argued they didn't have the authority to lower parking offences will now be pressured to declare whether they will follow the NSW government, which has already cut common fines in areas it polices.

Councils will be told they must opt in to make the changes by December 31. Picture: John Appleyard
Councils will be told they must opt in to make the changes by December 31. Picture: John Appleyard

It can also be revealed that Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will write to every council in the state to advise them of their new power to cut parking fines and urge them to "do the right thing by their constituents" by opting in.

"Councils are guilty of having their cake and eating it too," Mr Perrottet said.

"They have blamed the state government for their inability to reduce parking fine amounts while at the same time pocketing hundreds of millions in revenue."

School pick-up and drop-off times are a source of angst for many parents across NSW.
School pick-up and drop-off times are a source of angst for many parents across NSW.

"Councils will have no excuse not to decide if they are going to follow our lead and reduce fines or keep them where they are."

The changes will give councils, which collected almost $192 million from parking fines in the 2017-2018 financial year, the flexibility to reduce the typical $112 parking fine to $80.

Councils will be told they must opt in by December 31 to start charging the lower amount as early as March 2019.

Last month The Daily Telegraph asked 10 of the most fine-hungry NSW councils if they would pledge to slash parking fines - just one said it might be willing.

The regulations allowing councils to lower their fines will officially come into effect next Friday.