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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Ewingsdale speed camera ‘a cash cow’

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Image sourced from Google Maps Street View.
The St Helena speed camera. Image sourced from Google Maps Street View

Luis Feliu

The speed camera on the Pacific Highway at St Helena Hill, Ewingsdale, is the third most lucrative site for government coffers in the entire state, raking in almost $1.5 million in fines just last year.

Statistics revealed by the Opposition show that in 2013, the coalition government collected more than $79.1 million in fines from speed and red light cameras in NSW, an all-time record in revenue for the government.

They’ve accused the government of using mobile speed cameras to collect revenue, with safety an ‘after-thought’.

Despite the Ewingsdale camera being in the thick of massive reconstruction of the highway for the most part of 2013, it ranked 17th and 18th on the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) list.

But Labor MLC Walt Secord says the figure for the Ewingsdale camera has been split in both directions (‘southbound’ and ‘northbound’) to ‘reduce’ the amount for that camera alone.

The ‘southbound’ part of the camera collected $694,490 (2,994 fines issued) and ranked 17th, while the ‘northbound’ part collected $776,228 (2,977 fines) and ranked 18th.

‘But if you combine the total of the two cameras on the one, it is $1,470,718 for the entire year,’ Mr Secord told Echonetdaily.

He said both the figure and the fact the camera data had been split in two was ‘extraordinary’.

Mr Secord, Labor’s shadow minister for roads, said the income around the state from the cameras had increased sharply by more than 32 per cent over the previous year.

‘Data from the Office of State Revenue has revealed that from January 1 to December 31, 2013, the O’Farrell government collected $79,108,374 in fines from a total of 232,151 notices,’ Mr Secord said.

‘And each month, the amount collected was greater than the previous one, starting in January with $4.6 million and growing to $10.006 million by December.’

According to the data, revenue from speed and red-light cameras was: $79.1 million in 2013, $60.13 million in 2012, $42.84 million in 2011 and $5.84 million in 2010.

‘The NSW Opposition predicted that the amount collected would continue to grow because in December, the O’Farrell government introduced 45 new mobile speed camera units operating at 2,500 locations throughout the state,’ he said.

‘This increased the number of surveillance hours from 900 a month to 7,000.

‘While I recognise the need for red-light and speed cameras in fixed locations for safety reasons, especially in school zones, I do not support them for blatant revenue rising.

‘Unfortunately, the evidence is mounting: the O’Farrell government is using mobile speed cameras to collect revenue, and safety seems to be an after-thought.

‘In opposition, Barry O’Farrell promised to reduce the number of speed cameras, but in government, they are seen as cash cows,’ Mr Secord said.

The figures show the No. 1 revenue earner was the fixed camera on Sydney’s Eastern Distributor at Darlinghurst, which detected 10,047 motorists speeding, with a total revenue of $2,275,724.

The camera on Botany Road, Rosebery, came in officially second with 7,266 detections and $1,471,703 revenue.


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36 COMMENTS

  1. Safety Cameras……pah ! Just goes to show the lies Government tell…..the speed limits are already too damn slow in the country…..

  2. Wasn’t it the St Helena camera that was the focus of many complaints in recent years due to poor calibration? So many people were wrongly clocked at driving over the speed limit despite taking inordinate care to maintain a speed well under the limit. Just wondering if the camera’s back to its old tricks.

  3. Funny , I`ve driven cars , motorcycles & employed as a Heavy Vehicle Professional Truck Driver ( that`s what it says on my log book ) for 36 years . i have found nearly all the people that bleat about the ” revenue raising speed cameras ” are the ones that have been caught speeding . Its not rocket science or brain surgery , get off the phone , slow down & pay attention to what you are doing , contrary to what you think , you don`t own & are not the only one on the road .

    • Right on Mick we all share the road together, I may not be a truckie but have driven for twenty years with no fines it’s not that hard people. And remember we share it, alternative could be horse and cart !!

    • I have driven this section very regularly for over 30 years and haven’t received a fine yet.Most people forget the huge amount of traffic accidents on this section of road before the speed camera.Dont forget that if the sign says 60km/h then that is the absolute maximum speed not an approximate or recommended speed.

  4. I was recently fined there for allegedly doing 70kph. In reality I was doing closer to 50kph and in a line of traffic doing the same speed, and it was raining. Appealing goes nowhere. It’s a scam.

  5. I constantly find myself creeping over the speed limit on this camera. I travel past it pretty much every day and have to remain completely focussed to ensure the car doesn’t creep past the 60k crawling speed.
    If you take your eyes off the speedo for a second to look at the road you can find yourself in debt.
    Most of the issue with this camera is that the highway it is on is inconsistent with a 60KmH limit. It is more an 80KmH zone. So your brain is always saying ‘I’m going too slow here’. Is it a 60 KmH camera simply because it earns more than an 80KmH camera? Or is it 60KmH to try and keep the trucks going downhill in low gear?
    60KmH on this bit of highway simply doesn’t make sense.

  6. I’d like to know what they do with money…support hospital emergency care, surgical wards & rehab centres left with carnage of motor vehicle accidents? Better driver programs? Oooo look, there goes a pig….

  7. there are no such thing as road safety camera. All are solely for the collection of revenue and voting makes no difference as all that happens in an election is the people get to choose one side of the same corrupt coin.

  8. Having driven in Europe for many years the one thing that stands out for me back here is there’s no way to tell what the speed limit is by looking at the road. In Europe the speed limit, usually one of 3 variations, is set by the type of road. Here, especially the PAC Highway, the limit changes so often there’s no way to tell what speed you should be doing until you reach the next sign if you miss one or are so saturated with changes you just don’t take it in anymore.

  9. Sorry mick..you lose..there were i believe two accidents before they placed that Govt debt collection machine there. Both were caused by sht driving not speed..the camera is placed no where near the accidents occured…Max is right govt (current) either side is corrupt and has zero morality..thankfully everyday more and more ordinary quiet simple folk are waking up to the fact..and the media is complicit in the scam and theft for fear of losing advertising revenue..no morals here boys and girls..its all about the FILTHY LUCRE..Don Page is just a front..he doesnt give a toss..why should he??!

  10. I just received an infringement notice in the mail claiming I was doing 71 kph on boxing day. How do you challenge something like this because I am rather anal about doing under 60ks here? I am positive I was not speeding. Any help please???

  11. Like Chris, I just received a similar notice in the mail claiming I was doing 71 km/h. You wonder if they have a standard infringement notice ready to be mailed out.

  12. $109 for speeding10kph or under in this 60 zone @ 5am, FIRST I new about it was when I received a notice in the mail. this has nothing to do with stopping unsafe driving. This was the first time in 2 years I have been down this road and wasnt aware I was driving way too fast for this accident blackspot until 2 weeks later. I hope they spend the revenue from this camera on making this road safer. Just an idea but as the speed limit changes so often on the way down the Pacific motorway how about putting rummble strips on the road giving drivers an additional warning to reduce speed (3 strips , 2 strips , 1 strip) this however may affect revenue from cameras.

  13. Recently returned from holidayed in Byron Bay,,received Infringement notice on 19 Th Oct claiming I was speeding ,on Pacific hwy between Ewingsdale and St Helena,Ewingsdale..70 km in a 60 km zone..No way, as I drive on Cruise Control ,,EVERYWHERE,,,this camera is obviously faulty ,I believe it has received quite a number of complaints from other motorists,,,
    As a motorist I have no real avenue of appeal,( beside loosing a day of work and and driving to Parramatta and attempt to convince a Judge) and furthermore “who is going to listen to me”,,! THE CAMERA IS FAULTY AND NOTHING BUT A REVENUE RAISER,,but does the current Liberal Govt care,,They couldn/t give a toss..
    So much for Democracy,!!
    Regards
    Robert.

  14. Wow.. I couldn’t believe I got a fine when I was so cautious driving home on Xmas eve.. I was being extra careful along this stretch with the road works going on. They said I was doing 17km over, There is no way! Typing in this stretch of road brought me to this web site.. It looks like I am not alone. What a scam. I also think that maybe the camera was tricked into firing as there is a vehicle travelling on the opposite side..The pictures of my car start as the other vehicle comes into frame. I wonder if they got fined as well ? I bet they call it a two for one in the office…. Has anyone tried fighting/appealing this camera in court ?

  15. I was just another victim of this cash cow, I was diverted from the expressway along Hinterland Way because of road works. The directions of the detour were not clear, the lighting on the road was not good I didn’t notice a speed sign the area was not residential it was all farm land I naturally thought it was about 80 klm.
    As I said the detour sign was not clear and I had no idea where the detour was taking me, so I turned around to go back and ask the traffic control worker for directions. The camera got me twice what a scam, at least the State government might get some money to pay for the road works, maybe that’s why they refuse to do anything about it.

  16. Just received fine for $260 on Ewingsdale Road and St Helena, plus three points.

    I always use cruise control and am a very safe driver but not it seems, when coming across carefully contrived speed traps that promote bureaucrats who keep cleverly finding ways to keep getting promoted with their own personal goals in mind and not the common good of us all.

    Politicians are gutless against such bureaucrats as they depend on them for their own survival. Where is the justice? It will cost or to have the matter challenged in Court. The populous needs a simpler way to challenged these very unfair inconsistency.

    I will just pay it and feel anger for the next months.

    Could start by making speed traps visible by allowing us to purchase our own speed trap warnings. It will make people slow down when a trap is approaching.

  17. Hinterland Hwy down ramp Ewingsdale North bound between Ewingsdale road and St Helena Rd

    I believe there is a missing speed advisory sign.

    The bullet holes in the scenic glass pane on the east side of the down ramp indicate a lack of maintenance on this section of the road .

    The 60 km zone lasts so long without a reminder before roundabout which is the hazard point.

  18. Just got $265 fine and six points deducted for going 76km. Not the first fine for me from this camera. This is dodgy. Why is it 60…it’s not a built up area. I was so careful driving cause I know going to Byron often results in a fine…but I still got one. I want to fight this but I don’t know how. I don’t think it’s fair, and it can mean that because of all the points lost from this camera, and now after this 6 point loss I wont be able to drive my disabled mother around.

  19. Cash cows like this camera just undermine the claims that ‘cameras are all about safety’. Some cameras might be, but the placement of this camera is plainly all about an extra few million for the bureaucrats.

    The reason that this camera catches so many is that section of road road there is wide open and safely divided – you would assume that it is 80 km/h – most similar roads ARE 80 km/h at least.

    So the camera simply catches anyone who didn’t notice the last speed sign they passed- perhaps they were looking at the road instead!

    • I just got $265 and 3 demerit points. First ever speeding fine and I’m 64 years old. I’m from Western Australia and can’t believe it!!!

  20. We’ve just come back from a family holiday, 3 fines to date have reached our mailboxes. What makes it worse is that we were driving each others cars and now not only have to pay 2x $265 plus $114 but change all the details of the drivers, who, by looking at this site were doing the correct speed anyway – all cars use cruise control, and none of the drivers have had fines for over 10 years.

    We’re only waiting for the remaining fines to come rolling in as we holidayed in the Byron hinterland for a week!! First fine was 8th Jan, and second and third were 10th Jan, we left the area on the 14th so there are 4 more days for NSW Office of State Revenue to go to town on us. Won’t be holidaying in NSW again.

  21. I drove up to Byron from Sydney and was eventually ‘snared’ at Ewingsdale. I say eventually because I must have past 101 speed limit changes and a good number of radars. I remember nervous moments suddenly thinking ‘am I in a 100 zone?…110? or has it dropped to 80?? The towns are generally less an issue as it becomes common sense to slow down however most of the time I’m trained to think about the rules and the fines and license points rather than the actual risk of speeding. (injury to others)

    I turned onto the Highway a minute or two before the camera heading north and stupidly was thinking for myself, thinking a highway running through open countryside on a gentle, cambered corner is at least an 80 zone. I ‘cruised’ around it at 75 obviously missing the 60 sign. $265 fine, 3 points (1/4 of the way into losing my license!)

    The system is too tight, it trains us to either follow rules or not without thought to the actual real threats. It’s an effective revenue scheme and a poor education system.

  22. To all

    Welcome to the days of legal mugging – after driving in Britain recently , I noted the signs were bright and ideally placed and with most mobile cameras NOT activating until as an example 77MPH in a 70 Zone – this equates to 11.2 KMS –

    The mobile cameras vans were clearly marked and located in sight by all motorists to see as opposed to Victoria whom use normal unmarked cars to Legally mug the motorist and play with the motorist driving Licence ( points )

    Also the UK have had some great success with road fatalities – education NOT just Cameras

    Finally the citizens day must come – we cannot allow the authorities to keep on legally mugging it’s citizens – as Victoria just increased the road fatalities in the 2016 year and still propose more cameras

    But recently i read in the paper – not sure of the breakdown ( parking . Camera , police ticket etc ) the Victorian Government are owed 1.8 billion in unpaid fines – Message in the bottle is the citizens don’t agree approve of legal mugging

    As for magistrates and judges – sorry to say that these laws have took you all from a respectable standing in society to just gutter rats who is a arm of the law to ensure revenue is raised ( my opinion )

    Hopefully the citizens day will come – and to you Brits at least you show your citizens respect by having visual mobile cameras and excellent signage well in advance and have an acceptable speed tolerance threshold.

    Finally get rid of that fixed red light / speed camera in Fitsroy st St Kilda Vic , just flashing away robbing people of their wages on a very wide open road – many people fined 43 in a 40 zone – this is a social vandal

  23. Damn – my first ever points, speeding ticket and $270 fine. I’m surprised like everyone else here. Also feeling like the least stress-free solution is to just pay it despite feeling like it’s unjust.

  24. Echoing many of the comments above, we are angry about this speed camera!! We are not familiar with the area and attended a wedding on the 21/10/17. Same camera, fined going each way (75km and 80Km). I was the driver the first way and my husband the return. I am a stickler for sticking to the speed limit and so obviously it is quite unclear what the speed limit is in this area (both ways) and like previous comments, if 60KM is the most appropriate speed for this stretch, then darn well make it clear and we will stick to it!!! What an expensive wedding!!!

    • Adding to the comment above, I just spoke to the Revenue Office and we are able to pay off the fines gradually so happy to do this, just hoping the $$$ goes towards improving the roads in NSW.

  25. Totally agree with what others have said here. I’ve landed here looking for some photo evidence of the street location.
    I drove from Sydney to Gold Coast to visit family for Xmas, then returned to Sydney via Byron as an elderly relative was in respite in a nursing home in the area, and I visited him on Boxing Day. Yes like others have said, all the way speed limit changes along the road – 110, 100, 80, 60. I am very aware of the need for safety and this is m first ever infringement in 45 years of driving! How could I miss the sign? Where is the 60 sign located on that stretch?
    Apparently I was doing 74 in this supposedly 60 zone. Obviously I didn’t see any signs and thought/guessed/assumed it was an 80 zone – $270 and 6 points. Gah!

  26. Bloody robbing swines!! There is no sign..if so can someone point out wgere the 60 sign is id be very glad ..if there is no sign its illegal to fine people!?!

  27. Just got the infringement notice i didn’t deserve.
    I travel past this monster frequently and have finally got smashed by its ugly head.
    Ive made it my mission in life when passing this beast to stay under 60klm.
    I got a notice in the mail today saying i was doing 87klm which carries a 4 demerit penalty and a $472 fine.
    I live here and i can remember it being installed all those years ago. So many people over the years
    have lost their lives on that corner in the wet. It has saved lives no doubt.
    But it has also caused so many people unwarranted grief such as I’ve been reading on this blog including me. What do you do with that. Suck it up and move on.
    I’ll probably have to take the long drive around the hills to avoid being in its path.
    Very pissed off to say the least.

  28. Echoing the comments above, I’ve received a 4 point penalty and $472 (!) fine. Two thoughts – I completely agree with the above regarding speed limit changing again and again along this stretch and this road is leading into the highway yet still going 60km/h!? It’s an absurdly low speed limit but I’ll accept that I was speeding (haven’t received a fine in 10 years).

    Secondly, the amount of the fine is scandalous. $472 is a huge amount of money. Fortunately, this doesn’t impact me heavily but surely some drivers would be crippled by this amount. Surely, a $200-300 fine would suffice as a deterrent. $472 is just ludicrous revenue raising. EADC.

  29. I haven’t seen a speed sign or camera YET being a motor bike rider , i was concentrating on cheese cutter in the middle of the road !!

  30. We received 2 fines 4 days apart Oct 2020 while on holiday in Byron Bay
    $285 x 3 point each 🙇‍♀️ There is no clear signage
    Complete scam.

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