By AUSTIN NORMAN
In March of 2018, the Inner West Council (IWC) was celebrated by its residents and those who visit the area for its decision to switch off the parking metres on two of the borough’s busiest areas during evening hours.
The two areas affected by this policy change, Leichardt and Balmain-Rozelle, are two of the busiest nightlife precincts. But while the change was welcomed by the businesses and their customers, the city lost a million dollars of parking fees and fines in the process.
Today, some are wondering whether or not the council implemented stricter enforcement over other parking areas in the borough to make up for the lost parking metre revenue.
This validity of this question has been backed by data analysed and provided by IWC independent councillor John Stamolis, a former statistician, revealing that the Inner West has seen a large 19% increase in parking fines from 2018 to 2019.
111,984 parking fines were issued in 2019, a staggering 18,000 more fines than 2018, the year of the metre policy change.
As a result of this dramatic increase, the Inner West has solidified itself as the borough with the highest parking fine totals by far outside City of Sydney. To make matters worse, based on the year-to-date data for 2020, the Inner West is on pace to levy more than 120,000 fines this year.
Were these steep increases part of a deliberate move by the council to offset the fees and fines lost by removing the parking metres from downtown? At press time, the council had not responded to City Hub’s repeated requests for comment.
For parking fines ‘n’ fees geeks, here are some other facts: City of Sydney, the borough with the highest population, levied 279,573 fines in 2019. After the Inner West, the next highest jurisdiction was Waverley, with 67,861 fines. The lowest was Strathfield with 10,550.