MOTORISTS shouldn't be surprised when their parking fine appeals are knocked back, according to a former parking ranger.
Joe Maric, who was an Orange City Council parking officer for 11 years, has called for a community panel to review parking fines.
Currently, Revenue NSW undertakes reviews when motorists challenge their fines, but Mr Maric said it was difficult to be exonerated - council data has indicated 93 per cent are either paid straight away or enforced.
"I don't believe you can get that impartiality with Revenue NSW because there's a bit of a conflict of interest," he said.
"They're paid on every single ticket they administer for the council - that means there's no mechanism other than court and I don't think that's a fair process."
Mr Maric said a community panel, made up of three or four members, would approach appeals more objectively.
"It's something myself and Allan Renike, my former boss, came up with a few years ago but we didn't have the controversies at the time," he said.
"We need to bring integrity back into the system and the only way we can do that is through [a panel], not Revenue NSW."
We worked on the principle of educating the driver and you book them when you have no other option.Former parking officer Joe Maric
Mr Maric said the situation had changed in light of Orange's growing income from parking fines - in the past year, it grew from $793,050 to $1.1 million.
"You'd expect four parking officers to get between $600,000 and $700,000," he said.
"We worked on the principle of educating the driver and you book them when you have no other option - I would have warned more drivers than I booked and it wasn't like we weren't making money on infringement notices."
Several councillors have been appealing for an end to the use of unmarked cars by parking officers.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the state government's debt recovery office had handled the administration of Orange's parking fines for a number of years and it determined how appeals were handled.
"While infringements such as overstaying parking limits are more straightforward and lead directly to a fine, it is normal practice for in situations such as parking on a footpath for council's parking officers to issue warnings," he said.
He said rangers had responded 41 times during October to look reports of cars parked over a footpath.
"In response, 36 warnings were issued compared to only five fines - four of the fine fines were to repeat offenders who had received at least one prior warning," he said.
"The aim of the exercise is not to raise money but to share parking spaces fairly between drivers and discourage unsafe parking."
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