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‘Fake fine’ parking management group addresses future of its operations


A third-party parking management group has slammed the government’s decision to remove its ability to access vehicle registration details, saying it is “exploring all avenues” regarding the company’s future in Queensland.

From Monday, companies will no longer be able to access information from Transport and Main Roads Queensland under a legislative provision designed for car crashes or similar incidents, where it is an offence not to provide details.

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The change was made in response to public outcry against non-government bodies demanding money from motorists, often in relation to parking issues.

“Without any consultation with the industry, the Queensland government has temporarily removed the ability for private parking operators to access vehicle registration details,” Smart Parking Limited said in a statement to the ASX.

“This change implemented by the government will impact the company’s Queensland operations, our customers and Smart Parking’s ability to operate effectively using our tried and tested global business model.”

In the past week, Smart Parking’s stock price has fallen from 0.27 cents to 0.23 cents.

Smart Parking has slammed the government’s decision to remove its ability to access vehicle registration details. Credit: 7NEWS

Queensland motorists have previously spoken out against the company, and other similar third-party groups which manage parking including issuing “parking breach notices” in public carparks including at venues such as McDonald’s.

Smart Compliance Management, a division of Smart Parking Limited, manages many of McDonald’s parking areas.

In one incident, a family was fined for overstaying a sign-posted parking limit while they were inside a McDonald’s restaurant holding a birthday party.

After public outcry, the parking notice was dropped.

Other instances include parents being fined when dropping off children for shifts at the restaurant, with Smart Parking’s technology seemingly not picking up that motorists had left the premises and later re-entered them.

Government reacts

In response to community feedback, Smart Compliance Management told 7NEWS that “clients are located on private land, so Smart Compliance Management are legally able to issue parking breach notices”.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey previously said “predatory companies” have exploited a loophole to issue fines to drivers overstaying their time.

“What we’ve seen is some predatory companies issuing what looked like fines, and are actually not fines, to people for overstaying in carparks,” Bailey said.

“And the way it’s been done has been, to be quite frank, it’s been a real rip-off and it’s been something that’s trying to exploit people rather than managing carparks.”

Some companies have used the previous legislative provision to access information just to issue fines, with no intention of going to court to pursue litigation, Bailey said.

“It’s been a case of not operating in good faith and using a loophole,” he said.

“What we’ll be doing is preventing that from occurring next Monday and will be seeking to reform the regulations so that you require a court order to get access to that information.”

‘Exploring all avenues’

Smart Parking said it was “committed to working with the Queensland government to ensure the company can continue to operate and provide our valued services across Queensland in the future”.

“At this time the company is exploring all avenues in order to find the best solution,” it said.

“The Queensland operation represents less than 5 per cent of Smart Parking’s total revenue and, while it is still early in its growth phase, was not yet profitable in the first half of FFY23.”

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Source: 7News