Two of the key changes for motorists in the NSW Fines Review are parking fines reductions and a grace period for parking.
These changes are designed to introduce a fairer and more common sense approach to parking fines in NSW.
The NSW Government has introduced a 10-minute grace period in response to community concerns for certain parking offences. This change is designed to allow motorists to be a few minutes late, but also ensure road safety is not jeopardised and the smooth flow of traffic is not compromised.
The grace period only applies after at least one hour of paid parking, and only to ticketed or coupon parking.
Who is impacted?
All parking fine issuing authorities, including:
- NSW government agencies
From what date should councils and universities implement the grace period?
Allowing a grace period for certain parking offences will commence on 31 January 2019.
Where does the grace period apply?
The grace period of 10 minutes will apply when all the following conditions are met:
- a fee has been paid to park for one hour or more immediately before the grace period commences
- a coupon or ticket is clearly displayed
- the parking space is not in a shared zone, a metered parking area or other excluded area (see below).
Where the grace period will not apply?
The grace period does not apply to a vehicle parked in a:
- metered parking area, where the meters do not issue parking tickets
- private car park
- shared zone
- bus lane, clearway, transit lane, bus zone, loading zone, mail zone, and no stopping area
- special event parking
- free parking zone
- long stay or multi-storey car parking where there are no time limits.
The grace period also does not apply to paid coupon or ticketed parking for less than one hour.
Why is metered parking excluded?
Metered parking is excluded as it is difficult to know whether a motorist has paid for an hour of parking before the meter has expired and whether the grace period has expired.
Is my council or university subject to the new grace period rules?
The grace period applies to all NSW parking fine issuing authorities, including NSW Government agencies, councils and universities. All councils and universities must comply with these new arrangements.
What do councils and universities need to do?
Councils and universities should advise their parking inspectors of these changes and their responsibilities to ensure a smooth implementation from 31 January 2019.
Councils and universities should update relevant manuals and other communications prior to 31 January 2019.
Councils and universities are encouraged to promote the grace period changes within their community, so citizens are informed about the new arrangements.
What is the relevant regulation?
The grace period is provided for in clause 123C of the Road Transport (General) Regulation 2013, under the Road Transport Act 2013.
The relevant parking offences are:
|Road Rules 2014||Ticket parking|
|Rule 207-3 (4)||Park after ticket expired|
|Rule 207-3 (5)||Park for longer than allowed by ticket signs|
|Rule 207-5 (5)||Park after coupon expired|
|Rule 207-5 (6)||Park for longer than allowed by coupon signs|
Parking fine reductions
What are the changes to parking fines?
The NSW Government has lowered a group of 52 non‐safety related parking offences issued by NSW Government authorities from $112 to $80. This includes parking infringements issued by NSW Police and fines issued in areas such as Sydney Olympic Park, Centennial Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The NSW Government has also made it possible for local councils and universities to opt‐in to charge the reduced level for these parking fines.
How does this affect councils and universities?
The NSW Government has amended regulation so that councils and universities can also charge lower fine amounts. The reduced level will not apply to penalty notices issued by councils or universities until the council or university elects to participate.
Does the reduction apply to all parking fines?
No. The reduction applies to a group of 52 non‐safety related parking offences.
How can my council or university opt-in?
These concessions do not apply automatically. If your council would like to opt-in and apply the lower parking fine amounts, it must complete the opt-in form provided to councils and universities and advise the NSW Treasurer in writing of their decision to participate. If a copy of this form is required please email email@example.com.
Are all councils and universities eligible to opt-in?
All councils are eligible to opt-in. All universities registered as a parking fine issuing authority are eligible to opt‐in.
When will the changes be happening?
On 1 July 2018 the top 10 (by revenue raised) level 2 parking fines issued by NSW Government authorities were reduced and a further 42 level 2 parking fines were reduced from 1 January 2019.
The reduced level will not apply to penalty notices issued by councils or universities until the council or university elects to participate. Councils and universities who opted in by 1 January 2019 can start charging the lower amount for fines from 28 February 2019.
What if my council or university needs more time to make a decision?
It is important that each council has time to consider the implications of a decision to opt in. If you don’t opt-in by 1 January 2019, there will be another three opportunities to do so in 2019, by 1 April, 1 July and 1 October. An annual opt-in opportunity will also be available from 1 April each year.
What happens after my council or university opts‐in?
There is a two month lead time between notifying the Treasurer in writing of the decision to opt in and the date when the reduced fine amount would take effect. If you opted in by 1 January 2019 for lower parking fine levels, you will be able to pass on the benefits to your community from 28 February 2019.
What else does council or university need to do if we opt‐in?
You should advise your parking inspectors of these changes and their responsibilities when issuing penalty notice orders, to ensure smooth implementation. Relevant manuals and other communications should be updated prior to the implementation.