Councillors to be briefed on parking fine refund review

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FRANKSTON Council has declared its intentions to refund $111 worth of parking fines after a review into their parking fine appeals process.

Kingston Council announced in March that they believed their process for reviewing parking fines had been improper, because they had outsourced their appeals process to an external agency between 2006 and 2016. They declared their concern that they may have been in violation of the Infringements Act 2006, and confirmed they would issue around $2.3 million in refunds.

Frankston Council confirmed earlier this year that they had also worked alongside an external agency, Tenix, to manage their parking fines between 2007 and 2014. The mayor Michael O’Reilly said in early April that “council is close to finalising its review in respect to Tenix, with a final determination expected within the next two weeks.”

Cr O’Reilly told The Times last week that council is only considering one request for a refund at present time.

“To date, one person has requested a refund based on paperwork provided and it is likely that the $111 will be refunded,” he said.

“Council will be briefed on the outcome of the information that has been reviewed. Council will need to consider how it wishes to move forward with this matter.”

Frankston Council chose not to comment about what options might be considered going forward. It is understood that CEO Dennis Hovenden will brief councillors on the matter and a decision will then be made if it should be brought before council for further discussion.

Kingston Council voted at a special council meeting on 4 March to pay back their residents impacted. Monash Council also pledged to pay back $2.6 million to motorists who had their fine appeals rejected while Tenix handled their appeals process.

Cr O’Reilly provided a statement about the review in April that said “the records in question date back up to eight years, requiring archived computer records to be retrieved, decoded and reviewed so that council can make an informed final determination.”

“To date only two enquiries have been made by members of the public. One of those enquiries was incorrectly sent to Frankston City Council, and was directed to the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. The second enquiry is an active investigation which will be finalised pending councils’ final determination. Residents with any concerns are encouraged to contact council who will record their details and make contact once the full investigation is complete.”

Kingston mayor Georgina Oxley said in March that it is “common” for councils to outsource the issuing of infringement tickets to an external contractor.

“We recently received updated advice and council now believes that the introduction of the [Infringement Act 2006] meant the final decision of the review should not have been outsourced,” she said.

“For that reason, we want to be fair and transparent and therefore will be refunding appealed fines during the 10 year period.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 27 May 2019

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