Mike Stevens | Jun 14, 2010

The NSW suburb of Parramatta has announced the results of its trial of an appeals panel for motorists seeking to dispute a parking ticket. The panel, overseen by representatives from both the council and residents, was made up of two Parramatta volunteer residents and one council officer.

Paul Garrard, the city's Lord Mayor, said that the six-month trial (run over the past summer) saw around one-in-five parking fines overturned. While the successful appeals could eventually lead to thousands of dollars in lost revenue, Cr Garrard said the goodwill made it worthwhile.

''This is not a get-out-of-jail free card, but there are some issues that aren't totally clear cut,'' Cr Garrard told Fairfax. ''And council has the opportunity to act in those grey areas.''

The panel was empowered to review parking infringements, along with evidence provided by the parking ranger and the alleged offender.

Cr Garrard said that the panel, dubbed The Parking Infringement Review Panel, had been set up to help govern the discretion of the council's rangers, adding a level of flexibility otherwise not catered to under the existing regulations.

Around 453 appeals were heard over the six-month trial, with 89 given a caution notice in place of a penalty, while 77 were withdrawn altogether.

A permanent version of the panel is expected to begin operating in the coming months.

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