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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

$100 car-parking comes to Byron Bay

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Unpopular but fair: Byron mayor Simon Richardson announces new plans for paid parking he admits won’t go down well with all residents.

Byron Shire Council has forged ahead with its plan to implement paid on-street parking in Byron Bay in an effort to balance the books with the help of the town’s tourist population.

Last week’s council meeting approved the final scheme, which will set a $4 per hour rate for parking on the street and in council-owned car parks.

The existing residents’ $25 per year parking coupon will be increased to $100 per year.

The pay parking area covers over 1,500 car spaces within the town centre and the coupon can be used for all off- and on-street locations within the area.

Mayor Simon Richardson said scheme will both increase turnover of cars in the area and improve council’s bottom line, as is required by the state government’s Fit for the Future program.

‘Firstly we can expect to see an improved usage of car parking spaces in the town centre which will make it easier for us to find a park,’ he said.

‘Plus, there are substantial financial gains with a potential $2 million each year that can be used to pay for the impacts of tourism and to provide better amenities for us,’ he added.

‘Pay parking is now the norm in areas that have high visitations and for Byron Bay these are funds that our community needs.

‘From March 2015 tourism statistics, we know our area has over 900,000 day trippers each year with a total of 1.5 million visitors.

‘Whilst the solid tourism figures are good for our local economy, we also have significant impacts on our infrastructure from visitors and unfortunately council cannot introduce a bed tax, or an e-tag toll.’

The mayor said that charging for parking was one of the only ways for council to generate funds for improved infrastructure.

‘Improved parking turnover will also save council investing limited funds into building more car parks,’ mayor Richardson said.

‘Whilst pay parking will not be popular with some,’ he admitted, ‘the decision has been about finding a balance to support our roads, drainage and parks.

‘Residents will review their parking habit and weigh up whether they are prepared to pay $100 a year – $2 a week– for the parking permit, or pay as they go on-street. It will come down to a personal decision,’ Cr Richardson said.

He added that if councils couldn’t demonstrate how they will become financially sustainable, then they run the very real risk of being amalgamated.

‘The pay parking scheme is a key cornerstone to help show how we are working towards improved finances and improved infrastructure,’ he said.

It is estimated that the pay parking setup costs in the first year will be about $1.5 million. The major cost is associated with $1.2 million for the machines and data/network infrastructure. An additional $300,000 has been allowed for changes to parking signage, line marking, modifications to kerbs and blisters and additional paving or upgrades.

Councillors Ibrahim and Wanchap voted against the decision.

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  1. This is really good. The council needs to show how it can be financially sustainable. So this is one way to get the locals to help pay for the rock wall protecting 3 houses, and to pay for transporting sand across the National park, and to cover the extra traffic clogging up shirley st from west byron development. Because we all need to be responsible, and help share the load. Keep calm and carry on , and all that. Do your bit.

  2. Fact: Local councils are not recognised in the Constitution and are not a third-tier of government. We have Commonwealth, Federal and State Goverments – no Council. Fact: This makes Councils merely corporations and it is illegal for corporations to charge fines to raise revenue. By paying the $100 fee for locals you are effectively agreeing with the councils misappropriation of funds to protect 3 houses at Belongil – as they seek to prove how ‘financially sustainable’ they are. If you disagree with this, then don’t pay your $100 fee. Receive your parking infringement and request it go to court. Then, request as many adjournments as possible. When thousands of people do this, the entire system will shut down and becomes a very poor buisness model as it costs more to run than it earns. Tthe system will change rapidly. This is all entirely legal. It’s called people power. It’s called integrity. It’s called – stop complaining and take action. The council don’t care if we complain. Bentleigh – anyone? Georgia of Bottlebrush, Suffolk Park

    • “Georgia Stevens” – please be careful using the word “fact”. Local Government is established by Statute of the State Government, making it, in effect, an arm of State Government and hence, an actual government entity. I challenge you to receive a parking fine and go to court to argue to the Magistrate that you shouldn’t have to pay because of the “Constitution”. I won’t be visiting you in jail.
      As for the article, this move by Council will merely impact our local businesses, by forcing locals and others to shop in Ballina.

  3. So – resident’s parking fee goes to $100 annually. That’s 27 cents per day. What are they complaining about??? You call this the “lucky country”. Yes it is. Lucky your not paying $$s per day like they do in other cities around the world for resident’s parking permits.

    • Easy for you – many of us struggle with our finances as it is. You might have a hundred bucks to throw away but I sure don’t. What an appalling decision. Byron is becoming more and more like the Gold Coast every day. Sad.

    • We are NOT a city. We are a small beach side community that has become a tourist destination. Sure have the tourists pay parking to help pay for the burden on infrastructure that they are using like roads and sewerage and waste disposal etc. But to get the locals to pay for parking is not on. The jobs on offer in Byron Shire are not top corporate or high paying jobs, so to have to pay to park when going to work or shop is ridiculous for the locals, they should be exempt. And I agree with aforementioned arguments that this money is going to save, protect and erect top end housing for a few locals and many tourists, not for the majority of the community. Starting to wonder who’s interests this council is representing???…….

  4. Thanks Georgia. Your strategy will FREAK THEM OUT. They have no way to handle something like that! thats revolution talking – and would get the national medias attention. However, do people have the guts, the patience and the committment to stand strong? I don’t know if they do.Do you, friends? On the plus side, it would actually speak not so much about the parking tax but more loudly, more a way of sticking it to them over the various current affairs we are all so upset about. It’s definitely direct action. I’m in. Can we co-ordinate this?
    Any leaders?

  5. Hey, Byron Bay Resident -are you a member of the council by chance – your erroenous comment suggests that parking is a privledge, it suggests that most people can afford a lump sum of 100 – and worst of all it suggests that the reasons for all these new taxes are justified. If council was actually responsible with their money things like this wouldn’t need to happen. And our roads would be safe without potholes etc. The council wouldn’t need to justify making standard works the locals responsiblity. Tourist tax – okay fine – great idea – but not a locals tax. Charge the $4 an hour so THAT locals DON’T have to fork out. It’s a double whammy – once again we can be reminded of the one million dollar rock wall etc etc etc et alia

  6. When I lived in a high tourist beach area of Sydney, our council provided two free resident parking stickers with the rates notice. Additional resident parking stickers were available @ $100, less than a third of the non-resident annual fee. City dwellers have access to better paid employment, and more of it, and more regular public transport than Byron Shire. I can see a lot of residents not being able to spare this amount and so shopping elsewhere. Which may solve the transport problem.

  7. You tell us that it’s all about raising money from the day-trippers (something we all agree about) and then raise the price of local parking by 400%!!!!

    By the way, who decided on $4 per hour? Costs MUCH more elsewhere. If you want more money, raise it to $8 per hour and leave the residents alone.

    • I agree with you Ephraim – free or cheap for locals and more for visitors. In Bondi it’s $7-8 per hour. Of course in Bondi there are trains and buses as alternative ways to get to the beach ….

  8. What a retrograde step – making ratepayers pay to park in their own town impacts poorly on lifestyle. The sooner this council goes the better. Bring on the ‘amalgamation’. Businesses will pay a huge price by this dumb move- locals will avoid the CBD like the plague.

  9. Considering the traffic chaos into Byron and back from Suffolk Park, it is quicker to shop in Ballina. Saving the parking fees is an extra incentive. Congratulations Ballina, here we come.

  10. Um, why cant they introduce a bedtax? Because all the councillors and town bigwigs own the accomodation?? Just sayin’…..The ski resort of Whistler did this ($1 per bed, per nite – a pittance compared to the nightly rates charged both here and there) and operates in the black year after year. Beautiful council-planted flowers everywhere, pristine clean streets and public spaces, PLUS they even have to pay for labour-intensive/ expensive snow clearing. This parking rort will deter all of us in nearby communities from our regular (especially slow season) Byron visits to spas, restaurants, markets and shops. Congrats Byron council, stellar geniuses at work AGAIN.

  11. Hey ‘ JimBB’ – if you’re interested in understanding the lack of legal jurisidiction enjoyed by councils, or rather – the legal facade they maintain especially when it comes to things like issuing infrignements – below is a webpage explaining – Know Your Rights Group and the tab ‘Local Government’
    And you are are only partially right – some magistrates won’t want to hear ones argument about councils being corporations as it threatens the institution – on the other hand countless precedents exist for people successfully challenging council fines purely by refering to this fact
    However what Georgia of Suffolk appeared to be referring to, was a mass movement of people protesting and thus overwhelming the system – ideally ending up with no one having to appear before a court at all. Obviously it’s a pain having to attend and not something we’d want to do. Seriously, I can understand her point – if we agree to pay for these parking permits we are saying ‘YES WE AGREE – WASTE OUR MONEY THEN STEAL IT BACK, DEAR COUNCIL’


  12. Just another reason to avoid Byron. What if you live at Lennox and work in Byron? How much is it going to cost you to park there for 8 hours a day x $4.00 per hour $32.00 per day x 5 days a week $160.00 x 50 weeks = $8,000.00 that’s with two weeks holiday taken out. Unless of course we folk from Lennox count as locals??? Correct me if I’m wrong but that seems like a lot of money to be paying. especially when you have to drive on those pot holed roads to get there.

  13. Wow, isn’t it just a privilege to live in this town and pay rates?!! Let’s just drive the locals away. I feel for the poor bastards who work and park in town. Now there’ll be even more cars scrambling for the free parking areas around the Rails Bar etc causing no end of angst. Good on ya Simon.

  14. As if we need another reason to avoid Byron Bay (used to be known as simply “The Bay and now “Byron” as it’s been renamed by the city slickers who’ve moved up this way). We’ve hardly ever visited there lately and will avoid the place even more now.

  15. Civil Disobedience. Don’t pay the salt tax. If we all do it together it will create results. Say no to the Oligarchy. Don’t pay the $100. Say no to millions of dollars stolen to benefit the few. Say no to the destruction of local habitats. Don’t fund the tyrants and petty dictators.

  16. I currently reside in St. Kilda, which arguably has a similar tourist situation as Byron (lived in BB for 12 years).
    As a rate/rent paying ‘local’, we are given one free Parking Permit per annum, with the possibility of purchasing another.
    Permanent residents already pay rates and or rent at no mean price. We keep the town alive when the tourists aren’t around. We form the very fabric of the town.
    Why should residents be slugged twice with what arguably could be called another tax on top of living there?


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