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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Byron parking officers out in force over holidays

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Read the fine print: Council signage at Venture Park, Brunswick Heads, on the basis of which parking fines have been issued. Photo Grant Nettleton

The holiday period was busy for Byron Shire Council’s enforcement team with 11 staff working early and finishing late.

Some 200 fines were handed out for illegal camping and another 900 for parking-related issues.

Shannon Burt, the council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, said there were no holidays for the enforcement team, who responded to ‘ongoing concerns from our community about illegal campers and their behaviour and to let these people know that setting up vans and camping on beaches and in residential streets is not okay any time of the year’.

In all, 1,119 infringement notices for a range of offences, including illegal camping and parking, were issued over the Christmas-New Year break.

Ms Burt said the team worked across all the public holidays, starting at 3am and finishing at midnight, ‘to send the message to illegal campers that they need to pay to stay’.

Enforcement staff wrote 218 infringement notices for illegal camping.

They issued a further 901 penalties for other offences including parking fines, which also take in  people setting up their vans and sleeping in their cars in no parking areas.

Of those parking fines, 124 were at Seven Mile Beach Road at Broken Head,.

‘While we welcome holiday makers to the Byron Shire and hope they enjoy their stay, there is no place here for people who think they are entitled to park and camp wherever they like,’ Ms Burt said.

She added that residents and visitors who are paying for their accommodation ‘do not want to see tents on our beaches or in car parks and people setting up their vans in residential streets.’

‘Despite it being peak season there were still reasonably priced sites at some caravan parks in the Byron Shire so it is clear that the people who were camping illegally were doing so because they wanted free accommodation close to the beach,’ she said.

‘Many of the complaints we get are from residents who are tired of illegal campers and I’m confident they were pleased to see our Enforcement Officers out and about over the Christmas/New Year period,.

‘I am pleased that the majority of people fined were very respectful of council staff, understanding that they had a job to do.’

Ms Burt said illegal camping would continue to be a focus of enforcement operations during 2018.


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  1. It is good to see a Greens council giving tickets to homeless people living in cars.

    For the poor, failure to pay infringement notices leads to warrants, arrest and prison time.

    Good on the Greens for making the lives of homeless people ever more desperate

    • Large majority of illegal street campers are not local homeless. Rangers are aware of the genuine homeless. Most of these backpackers are from overseas and skip the country without paying their fines.

      My street attracts illegal campers. The residents are sick of their late night noise and shitting in their gardens and on the verges. Police and Council Rangers are regularly called. Maybe, these illegal campers will get the message to respect the law and Byron Shire and its residents.

    • The large majority of illegal street campers are backpackers from overseas who do not pay their fines and skip the country. Council Rangers are aware of the genuine local homeless and don’t target them.

      Many residential streets are attractive to illegal street campers. Residents are sick of the noise and shit left in their gardens and verges that they have to clean up.

      Backpackers need to show some respect for Byron Shire residents and the law. Thank you Council Rangers and the local Police for attempting to reduce this problem

  2. Far Far too many Regulations….I am a fourth generation from Byron, my Uncle ( George Ferros) has an archade in Byron named after him. I surfed and slept on the beach, I played in bands in all the bubs, bought a residence there a few years ago and loved the OLD Byron….Not anymore….I’m out of there….and i will be telling my friends the same. DO NOT GO TO BYRON!!!!!

  3. Come one come all to the Tweed and live forever on the river bank for nothing, no fines to pay inside the golf course on Crown Land at the furthest end of the road alongside the Tweed River . You can fish all day and drink all night at the golf club with meals and showers are available for members .

  4. It’s an emotive issue and it will continue to be just that simply because there are overwhelmingly large contingents of the public “at large”, and I do mean ” @ large”, who clearly do not wish to support amenities that they would otherwise have to pay for. They dont see a problem with depositing their waste both fecal and general in the nearest available hidey hole left to be cleaned up by a designated few. They don’t see a problem with putting up a pop top or an overhead camper in a public street and they certainly do not seem to recognise the rights of citizens who pay rates to pick up after them. They’ve always been there, and rightly or wrongly it’s never going to go away and let’s face it, we’ve all either done it or thought about it, and if you haven’t, then don’t bother to read on, because simply put you will not get the gist of my write. Byron’s been on my visit radar for well over forty years and I’ve very clearly been here a hell of a lot of times over that time frame. I’ve certainly seen all kinds of people come and go in that protracted amount of time and I’ve even dropped in on my way to other areas and have very likely stayed illegally at one time or another myself. One thing though that I was ever conscious of and always will be is “what is my impact ” upon the area or the population and the overall amenities of the place that invariably lies smack bang in the middle of that illegality, and I can say this much, that attitude has stood me in very good stead. Long before the rest of the world caught onto the fact that Australia was a must see destination, and our own backpacker invasion was it seems inevitable, Byron’ was always a laid back seaside town inhabited by existential people who were essentially searching for their very own idea of shangri-la. If they found it then well and good and they’ve certainly paid a premium price to get it and be there. So it’s not surprising that most of those very same would expect a certain order and certainly a reasonably safe system of laws implemented and in place to uphold that expectation. We are however in the midst of a changing world and let’s face it, some people bring with them other behavioural patterns and expectations from some rather obscure parts of the world that don’t always meet with the mainstream idea of what compliance is or even what it means. That’s where the term compliance comes full on into the equation and in saying this, it must be backed up by firmness and followed very closely by courtesy and all available interpretation in the form of education and the opportunity for any would be offender(s) to at least recognise a sustainability. Unfortunately some visitors have a care factor of zero and for some reason expect or require the rest of us to bend to their wants and perceived needs. We’ve all seen the bogan backpackers who won’t for the life of them spend a couple of dollars to gain access to a hot shower or facility that lets face it somebody has to maintain. These travellers are often of the opinion that Its them that count over the law and everybody else because they’ve brought themselves to our country to support our tourist economy and did I mention, work in menial farm labouring positions that we Australians just won’t work in( lol). Interestingly enough they wouldn’t even do it in their own country!.. It’s fair to say that shire councils aren’t the white knights that they purport to be either and certainly they don’t have too much of a problem exorcising huge rates and charges out of caravan parks and other accomodation facilities that afterall is said and done, must be recouped from a vacationing populace if they are going to continue to survive in their particular enterprise. RV parks can work but it can’t realistically be brought into existence at the overall expense of the business owner. Visitors to this country often have the view that they will be here only for a limited time and unfortunately they often leave their manners and their sense of responsibility ( aforementioned care factor) safely tucked away in their home country(s). As for the issue of homeless people, well, handouts do not solve it, never have, nor do people who reside in a world where self pity and self delusion run rife rarely or if ever rise above a certain level of living anyway…it’s called genetics and it’s very real….this country has a social security system and it’s one of only a handful in the world that actually dispenses cash to the needy and those of us without a paid job. What people have to take control of is their attitude to other people and start from that….it can only grow and potentiate itself from there. We all need to strike that balance that says we know how to operate fairly and accountably and with a measure of respect to our fellows, and until that comes about, we’ll continue to chase our tails…..

  5. I hardly think caravan park rates $46 to $86 will atract any backpackers, or grey nomads for that matter.
    Other camp grounds $40 per couple w/o power is also crazy.

  6. It is a pity that ‘vanpackers’ and self vontained motorhomes inhabited by grey nomads are treated the same way.
    Genuine self containment means that you would know that the unit has been there next morning.
    It is like chalk and cheese.
    Make provision for self containment, and you will please part if the travelling community.

  7. Self contained vehicles should have a right to park anywhere that a registered vehicle can park.
    It should not be illegal to sleep in a vehicle.
    Night time curfews in parking areas should be made illegal, if you can park there during the day then night time should also be allowed. If it says no parking at all times then I can accept that.
    We already have laws about littering and noise disturbance, that should be all that is needed.
    The term illegal camping should be made illegal for any authority to use.


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