Councils across the country have urged parking rangers to hold off on issuing parking fines, in a bid to ease the economic impact resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
All of Australia’s major cities have either introduced free parking in the CBD or told rangers to only issue parking fines in exceptional cases.
The City of Sydney announced it would be introducing a “flexible” approach to parking fines in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
“We have decided to take a flexible approach to parking and directed our rangers to use discretion,” the City of Sydney said in a statement.
“They will only issue parking fines or other penalties if there is an imminent risk or need.
“This doesn’t mean free, unlimited parking, wherever you’d like – we need you to continue to park legally.”
The government authority added that the changes were being made in a bid to make it easier for essential workers to drive into the city, for people to visit essential services and not to add “unnecessary financial burden”.
People have been told not to “abuse” the leeway being given during this time.
“Please do not park in a disabled spot without a sticker, or park in a loading zone. Please do not attempt to park all day in a busy area that requires turnover of parking, such as near grocery stores or pharmacies,” the City of Sydney said.
“Rangers won’t fine you for overstaying your ticket within reason, where there’s plenty of parking available. But they will still be enforcing parking rules where needed – so please don’t abuse the privilege.”
Melbourne has adopted a similar approach, with the City saying fines will only be issued to vehicles that are parked unsafely, in red signed areas, in residential zones or disability bays without a permit.
The City of Melbourne also announced it would temporarily waive parking feeds for hospital workers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Alfred Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital.
Brisbane has gone a step further and turned off all parking metres in the Brisbane City Council area.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the move will mean more than 8000 parking spaces will now be free of charge.
“Our two off-street parking stations at King George Square and Wickham Terrace will also have their fees slashed to $5 per day, saving users up to $30 per day,” he said.
“In addition, Council parking officers have been asked not to issue fines, except in cases where illegal parking is causing a dangerous situation.”
Adelaide Council also announced it has directed parking rangers to be more “flexible” with handing out tickets, particularly with vehicles in times or ticketed parking zones.
“Council’s decision is not designed to enable people to park all day on street regardless of the time limit or parking control,” Vanessa Godden, Associate Director, Customer & People for the City of Adelaide, said.
“We ask that people follow the controls in place, but we will be flexible within reason where possible.”
The City of Darwin has announced that from March 18 fees for on-street parking in the CBD would be waived for 60 days and Perth has introduced free one-hour on street parking across the CBD for the next three months.
Like Melbourne, the City of Hobart has also introduced free parking for certain hospital staff.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said free parking would be offered in the Argyle Street multistorey car park to a number of identified Royal Hobart Hospital and Hobart Private Hospital.
General Manager Nick Heath said the City would scale down its parking enforcement activities, although matters of safety would continue to be enforced.
In areas where the signposted time limit is one or two hours, motorists can park for up to twice the signposted limit without incurring a penalty – provided they have parked safely and not causing a hazard to other motorists.
“With lower demand on parking, we are able to ease time limits on some regulated parking,” Mr Heath said.