Calls For Demerit Point Penalties For Parking In Disabled Spot Without Permit

'$252 isn't enough of a deterrent'

Calls For Demerit Point Penalties For Parking In Disabled Spot Without Permit

Disability advocates want demerit points dished out to people caught wrongly parked in disability parking spots. 

Elisha Wright from No Permit, No Park says the current fines-only approach isn't enough to stop people from doing the wrong thing.

"When we started the campaign, the fine for the offence through police was only $44 so we petitioned government to increase that which they did. Instead of being 0.5 of a penalty unit, it was increased to 2 penalty units so at the moment it's $252. However it still.. after all this time.. hasn't done anything to deter people" 

"There is more fines than ever being issued. We have increased from, before the campaign, to around 900 fines a year being issued by police, to last year being 1700"

"The fact is that people really aren't deterred by the fine as much as they are by getting demerit points and the possibility of losing their license because of those demerit points" 

Wright says she has friends who rely on the carparks for access to the likes of shopping centres, restaurants and appointments. 

She says whether you're there for a minute, an hour or a day, the impact is huge. 

"You may think you'll only be a minute, but you're never actually a minute and it takes less than us to drive past a space and see it's not available. We've left by then"

"The message is 'if you don't have a permit, don't park there'" 

She says the availability of spaces can be a make or break, especially for people who live in wheelchairs but drive their own vehicles. 

"For them, it's absolutely vital. They cannot access their vehicle without adequate space and if there aren't any parks available then they have no choice but to go home" 

Wright wants Queensland to catch up to New South Wales where the fine for parking in a disabled car park without a permit is more than $500 and attracts demerits. 

"Our advocates lobbied the government there to make changes and they agreed that they'd trial the demerit point system. As I say, they also have a fine amount that is double what Queensland's is."

"They've found that since introducing the demerit point to the fine.. it hasn't been a huge effect but it's certainly starting to get around to people that if they get fined, they'll lose a demerit point as well. So it's starting to have that affect in the community, so they think twice before they do it."