Page 613 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022
I have spoken before in this place about the success of Access Canberra’s engage, educate and enforce model of regulation in the ACT. It is an approach underpinned by a robust and publicly available accountability commitment suite of documents. Through Access Canberra’s data-led, evidence-driven and proportionate approach to risk and harm, compliance is best achieved through targeted and effective education and engagement with individuals, business and the community. This approach supports Canberrans to do the right thing without applying a financial or other significant penalty unless necessary to support public safety or to provide an immediate deterrent, thereby reducing the financial burden on Canberrans.
I will share with members just a couple of ongoing examples. Firstly, I turn to the work of the parking operations team. I have been fortunate to join these hardworking officers as they have undertaken their work and I have seen firsthand the discretion and the fairness that they demonstrate. These officers have one goal in mind: to support safe, legal and accessible parking in Canberra. If this can be achieved through a discussion with the driver, it often is. The officers also provide a ten-minute grace period, which was introduced by this government, to again demonstrate fairness and reduce the financial burden on Canberrans.
Importantly, prior to any major parking change, an education and engagement approach is taken, usually accompanied by a warning period. This assists Canberrans to adjust to the change and to understand the new requirements before any enforcement activity commences. Recent examples include the reintroduction of pay parking after the COVID-19 lockdown period; activity around sporting ovals and precincts such as Garran oval, where Access Canberra has been working closely with sporting groups; and the reconfiguration of the Bowes Street car park. Access Canberra will apply a similar approach later this month as the pay-by-phone parking provider changes in territory-operated car parks.
Secondly, I turn to the COVID-19 compliance team. I am pleased to share that Access Canberra has not issued any infringements to local businesses as part of its COVID-19 compliance activity through targeted and effective engagement and education with businesses, which has included more than 23,000 business checks and more than 244,000 direct emails and letters, along with forums, webinars and supports. We have seen excellent rates of compliance by businesses. This approach supported businesses to keep trading in a safe way and reduced the financial burden to businesses at an already challenging time. All this was done while also assisting businesses to adapt to public health directions.
I would like to also remind members that the ACT government put a pause on the payment requirement for parking in government-owned car parks during the 2021 lockdown to support essential workers and further reduce the financial burden. The government recognises that the issuing of fines can present challenges for vulnerable members of our community, which is why such a considered approach is taken, where possible, to seek compliance and also to provide options around payments.
For example, if a fine or infringement is issued, such as for a traffic offence, there are a number of options available to our community. Canberrans can contact Access