BY OLIVIA DILLON
New data revealed by the State Opposition shows fines issued to motorists in Newcastle from mobile speed cameras have increased 11-fold since warning signs were removed last year.
The data is broken down according to the residential postcodes of drivers and compares January, February and March 2021, after warning signs were removed, to the same months in 2020, when warning signs were still in place.
The data indicates suburbs within the 2299 postcode suffered the biggest surge, with 122 fines being handed out in the first three months of the year, compared to just five fines given during the same period the year before. This represents a 2340 per cent increase.
Whole-of state data reveals the increase is also replicated throughout NSW.
State member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp gained access to the numbers through the NSW Upper House and is now accusing the government of revenue raising.
Crakanthorp noted the figures from February 2021, in which the revenue from 28,000 fines totalled $6.1 million. This amounts to more than the entire 2019/20 financial year, which brought in $5.7 million.
“I think we all expected to see some kind of rise when the warning signs were removed, but it has gone into absolute overdrive,” he said.
“When we see numbers like this it’s hard not to believe that it isn’t the Government revenue raising.”
“The NRMA was completely opposed to the removal of warning signs because signs educate drivers and make them change their behaviour in real time, rather than when they receive a fine in the mail a few weeks later.
It’s unpopular with drivers, unpopular with the NRMA and even the Nationals have spoken out against it, but I’m sure this move was very popular with the Treasurer.”
In response to the exponential rise in fines, the NSW Parliament has launched an inquiry into the changes.