Road Traffic (Issue of Free Tickets by Parking Ticket-Vending Machines) Amendment Bill - 24 September 2015

Wednesday 10 February, 2016

Mr TARZIA ( Hartley ) ( 10:33 :51 ): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and can I compliment you on your passionate support of your local team this week and wish them well in the grand final, but only because Norwood are not in the grand final.

I today rise in favour of the Road Traffic (Issue of Free Tickets by Parking Ticket-Vending Machines) Amendment Bill 2015. I commend the member for Unley who is in touch with his local community. He is a very hardworking local member who has brought this issue to the house after having an anomaly put forward to him in his local community.

The Hon. J.M. Rankine interjecting:

Mr TARZIA: Some things we can't change, exactly. In mid-2014—

The Hon. J.M. Rankine interjecting:

Mr TARZIA: Yes, he did help me in my election.

The SPEAKER: The member for Wright is called to order.

Mr TARZIA: In mid-2014, the City of Unley, as we heard, attempted to begin a 12-month trial period of fee-free, time-limited parking on land which was owned by the council. I understand that this was in Boffa Street, just off King William Road. The trial required that motorists who use the car park had to display a valid ticket on their dashboard allowing them to park for up to several hours free of charge. A ticket was obtained through a machine and provided free of charge. A number of issues were raised with the council in regards to motorists who have disputed fines that they had received in this area for not complying with the instructions at the car park. The City of Unley, from there, obtained some legal advice in relation to this matter.

It was determined, I am informed, that the car park could not be operated under the Private Parking Areas Act, because, even though land was owned privately by the City of Unley council, I understand that the car park was not used for the parking of vehicles by persons frequenting the premises of the owner, as there were no council offices nearby and nor was any venue used by council. Therefore, the Australian Road Rules, together with the South Australian road rules, do not permit a ticketing system where there is no payment, in accordance with that advice.

This implies that fee-free tickets would be permitted; however, the ARA refers to South Australian Road Traffic (Road Rules—Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014. Rule 22—Parking and parking ticket-vending machines or parking meters provides, and I quote:

(1) for the purposes of rule 207(1) (Parking where fees are payable), if the word 'TICKET' is displayed on a permissive parking sign, the word is to be taken to indicate that a fee is payable by buying a ticket through the operation of a parking ticket-vending machine.

I understand that there was a lot of confusion around this issue; in fact, in recent times, it has even been suggested by local media channels that motorists found the system of free, gratis, three-hour parking through obtaining a free ticket seemed a bit confusing. I can understand why it is confusing. It is confusing to get a ticket for free parking. Usually, when you get a ticket you are of the understanding that you have to pay for something, so I can understand the issue.

I now note that the City of Unley was looking to charge motorists to park in this car park that has been mentioned, with several shop owners suggesting that customers, on their advice, might even boycott the car park if fees were introduced.

This is an enormous issue surrounding local shopping areas. Especially in an area like King William Road, a lot of our suburban retail strips at the moment are feeling the pinch of the economic climate. Therefore, we need to be encouraging more people to frequent these shops in the suburbs, especially when their competitors have a competitive advantage in that some locations in the suburbs provide free parking. If they provide free car parking and others do not, obviously there is an incentive to go where it is cheaper to park their car. Therefore, the member for Unley has put a bill forward. I thank parliamentary counsel for putting this forward.

During the discussions between the member for Unley and parliamentary counsel it was raised that this kind of situation might be solved by raising the issue with the minister directly to regress the changes to the regulations, which is also an option.

But I am here to support the member for Unley in what he is doing, and I understand that we also have our shadow minister for transport who is also on board with this. It seems like a simple change. It would have the backing of the local community. I commend the member for Unley for taking it on and I commend the bill to the house.