Grandmother fights back against council over $559 parking fine

Stephanie Bruce settled her parking fine within days of receiving it, but the figure blew out when council denied she'd paid it.

Stephanie Bruce was threatened with arrest over a fine that she had already paid. Source: A Current Affair
Stephanie Bruce was threatened with arrest over a fine that she had already paid. Source: A Current Affair

An Australian grandmother spent over a year fighting a local council over a parking fine that she had already paid.

Stephanie Bruce copped the $92 parking infringement after overstaying her parking space when she went for a coffee with a friend in Sorrento, Victoria, in February 2023.

“I think I was there for about three hours when I got back to the car, little ticket on my windscreen, saying I got a $92 fine,” she told A Current Affair.

Within days of receiving the fine, Bruce paid the $92 and went on holiday, thinking nothing more of it. On her return, she received a letter saying that the fine hadn't been paid and had reportedly ballooned to $182.

The parking infringement
The parking infringement was paid within days. Source: A Current Affair

Despite proof she paid the fine, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council reportedly continued chasing her up for the infringement, claiming it remained unpaid.

“I've got the paperwork. I've got the reference number from Mornington council to say that it had been paid. Gave them the details and thought that would be it,” she said.

Over the course of several months, the fine grew to $559 as enforcement fees grew and grew.

Despite the evidence, council referred the infringement to Fines Victoria who continued to hound Bruce and even threatened to arrest her.

"It's not nice to have that hanging over your head," she said.

Council told A Current Affair that following an investigation, it was found the fine was paid to the wrong infringement number, and the matter would be withdrawn.

Across the country, councils are moving to a new parking fine system that could "reduce transparency" for drivers.

Northern Beaches Council in NSW revealed the system last month — called the Revenue NSW Print and Post service — which means that instead of the usual docket found on a windscreen, parking notices will be "uploaded onto the server" and then sent "within 2-3 days" to the car owner through email or post.

The move, adopted by about 38 councils in NSW at this stage, has brought with it concerns those hoping to contest a fine will not have the ability to do so as they will not know they have one until days, or even weeks later.

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