The ACT Government slugged Canberra drivers an extra $1.6 million in parking fines last year, an increase of more than 20 per cent on the previous 12 months, new figures reveal.
Parking inspectors wrote just over $9.1 million in tickets in 2010-2011, a dramatic increase from the 2009-2010 financial year, when $7.5million was raised in parking fines.
But an expected bonanza of more than $5 million in extra revenue from speed cameras and other infringements failed to materialise, the Government said.
A spokesman for Justice and Community Safety said yesterday the infringement effort by the territory's police and speed cameras operators had fallen short of its goal of nearly $24 million.
The parking fine figures were revealed in an answer to a question on notice from Liberals' MLA Alistair Coe, who went on the attack yesterday, saying it was the ACT Government's fault that motorists were parking illegally.
''With an unreliable and hugely expensive public transport system, many Canberrans are forced to drive their cars, and are then subject to a severe lack of parking, which often forces them to park illegally,'' Mr Coe said. ''Canberrans are also faced with huge cost-of-living pressures under this Government which, means many take the risk when faced with paying more than $10 in parking.''
But the JACS spokesman said the picture was more complicated.
''There are a range of factors that impact on the amount of revenue that is generated from parking infringements,'' he said.
''These infringements were raised by 10 per cent on December 7, 2009. In addition to the 10 per cent increase, there were more infringements issued and 17 per cent more paid in the 2010-2011 financial year than there were in 2009-2010 financial year.''
Budget papers show that revenue from general traffic infringements, including red light, speed cameras and uninsured and unlicensed drivers, was expected to increase from $18.9 million in 2009-2010 to $23.9million in 2010-2011.
The JACS spokesman did not say how much money had been paid in fines.
''The estimate for traffic infringements including fixed and red light traffic cameras and mobile traffic cameras was not realised in the 2010-2011 financial year,'' he said.
''Whilst there were increases in revenue from mobile traffic camera infringements and traffic infringements, there was a decrease in revenue from fixed and red light traffic camera infringements.
''The reduction in revenue from fixed and red light traffic cameras is considered to be consistent with the intention of the road safety program.''