The parking rip-off
MOTORISTS will be angry indeed to learn the extent to which greedy municipal councils are ripping them off with parking fines.
The Herald Sun reveals today that in the years 2004-07, 11 inner-city councils we investigated are expected to have raised more than $200 million from this source Motorists will be even angrier to learn that some councils set minimum targets for the "grey ghosts" who plague them with tickets.
Our investigation established that, not content with using fines as a revenue-raising exercise, the councils also rake in about $40 million a year from parking meters and paid parking.
Meanwhile, the racket expands, with meters installed around Albert Park Lake and planned for shopping strips such as Chapel St, High St and Glenferrie Rd.
Critics say this short-sighted avarice will lead to the death of local shopping and divert customers to shopping centres.
Ever since the Kennett government amalgamated Melbourne councils, ratepayers have noticed two things:
A DECLINE in service.
A CORRESPONDING increase in municipal bureaucracy, in which the big winners have been council executive officers, some of whom get paid more than the Premier.
As councils forecast increasing rates over the next few years, they milk motorists and waste money on pointless overseas junkets and other spending of doubtful relevance to ratepayers -- for example, Melbourne City Council's $20,000 support for "mentoring" graffiti vandals.
Not only councils are guilty. Motorists are also the targets of the Bracks Government's unfair tax on inner-city parking.