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City of Sydney council parking fines drop amid claims of bad management

Date

Leesha McKenny

Council says more people are obeying the law.

Council says more people are obeying the law. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Sydney's parking rangers fined fewer drivers last year than any of the previous six years, City of Sydney figures reveal.

But what the council puts down to more people obeying the rules, one councillor chalks up to dysfunction and mismanagement in the council's rangers unit.

The council's total revenue from parking fines dropped to $33.27 million last financial year, down from $36.27 million and $35.44 million in the two years prior.

Only 1697 infringements were issued per City of Sydney ranger in 2013-14 - the lowest number in the past seven years - compared to 1856 in 2012-13, and 1923 in 2011-12.

Meanwhile, council's income from parking metres rose steadily during the same period, up from $34.11 million in 2011-12 and $34.84 million in 2012-13 to $35.78 million last year.

A report to council revealed last year's parking fine revenue was $5.9 million less than anticipated. 

"Infringement notices are significantly lower than budgeted, largely driven by improved compliance," a council report said.

But Liberal councillor Edward Mandla told Monday night's council meeting the drop in fines revenue should trigger alarm bells and a restructure of the department.

He noted an internal audit was conducted in January last year into allegations of nepotism during ranger recruitment – an investigation that recorded no adverse findings.

A private firm was also engaged in 2012 to investigate "complaints and grievances made by staff within the Rangers Unit", a council report said.

"I'm not passing any judgment or opinion here but there's enough here to suggest 'trouble in paradise' so saying 'infringement notices are significantly lower than budgeted, largely driven by improved compliance' is awkwardly untrue," Cr Mandla said.

Staff took an average of 16.1 sick days last year, a figure excluding its seven casual rangers. Staff turnover stood at 10.8 per cent.

Cr Mandla said rangers were not allowed to be lenient or to talk to the public, making it "a lonely and heartless career where you get disciplined if you warn or engage with the community".

"This was spun as a good news story, all of a sudden after decades of non-compliance, the lights have gone on and people have become compliant - perhaps they've taken up cycling," Cr Mandla said.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hit back at Cr Mandla's "outrageous claims" that she said were not supported by any other member of the council.

"Of course our rangers speak to the public and they also have the authority in some cases to give people warnings instead of fines," Cr Moore said.

New rosters had provided better coverage and more visibility in areas where many motorists were parking illegally, Cr Moore said.

"The coverage has had the desired effect – fewer motorists are parking illegally and fewer infringements are being issued," she said.

"Our rangers have a really tough job - it's incredibly disappointing a Councillor would try to use them for political point scoring."

70 comments

  • "A drop in people getting fined should start alarm bells ringing"

    Definitely sounds like a Liberal party/councillor mindset. Although given that poor people don't drive cars, one wonders if Cr Mandla is not targeting his own support base?

    Commenter
    Alistair
    Date and time
    August 26, 2014, 12:02PM
    • A Liberal mindset? Are you kidding? Labor is the party of massive government, never-ending revenue raising, taxes on the weather and Big Brother style micromanagement on what we eat, drink or smoke. You seem a bit brainwashed there, mate.

      Commenter
      Justino
      Location
      Avalon
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 12:43PM
    • Mandela s a useless Councillor. No ideas, all complaints with no solutions. Ask him if Tim Koelma had. Involvement in his ferias, his campaign, or Liberal attempts to gerrymander Sydney Council?

      Commenter
      Darren
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 1:18PM
    • @justino Too funny - I don't recall any LNP initiatives to legalise drugs or abolish speed limits on the roads. They seem just as nanny state as the other lot

      Commenter
      george
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 1:31PM
    • I agree definite liberal mindset. They seem to think they can tax, fine and levy their way through anything. The liberals are the new out-of-touch-ables which means they are definitely going to be one hit wonders.

      Commenter
      r-m
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 1:39PM
    • I'm more concern about the 'budget' thing.....hence quotas!

      Commenter
      Gerson
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 1:42PM
    • For big brother micromanagement we need to look no further than the LNP. They expect the prime minister, no less, to manage and enforce State government WHS laws. They expect the Prime Minister to personally ask every single employer in Australia if they have trained their staff. The brain washing must be strong to ignore the Abbott nanny state.

      Commenter
      cj
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 2:05PM
    • I stand corrected. Australia is a total nanny state - just don't pretend either side is better than the other.

      Commenter
      Justino
      Location
      Avalon
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 2:22PM
  • Queue the violin music.

    Commenter
    Mark
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    August 26, 2014, 12:06PM
    • Behind what?

      Commenter
      Olaf
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 1:24PM

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