Down in Mascot in the streets closest to the airport and where we’ve got a resident’s parking scheme, both I and local residents have noticed an increase in the number of parked cars displaying authorised disabled parking permits. I’ve also seen more and more when I’m working in the City, especially around Macquarie Street, the courts precinct and outside St Mary’s Cathedral. The permits grant special parking privileges to disabled persons and are issued by the RTA. They are a great boost to the disabled and around medical centres and shopping centres they can make life easier, as they should.
But they are also being abused by those who are not disabled and use them as a means to get all day free parking – and at times fill up spaces that should be used by genuine permit holders. I see that in the City where the same cars are parked in almost the same spot every day and we’re starting to see it in some of the Mascot streets. I realise some of the permits are used by disabled persons working in both the City and in our suburbs and nothing should impinge on that. What does concern me and many I talk with is the abuse by able bodied people of the disabled permits.
I know standing committees in both the State and Australian parliaments have investigated the issue and given that there are some 800,000 disabled parking permits issued in Australia there will, unfortunately, be some abuse. What I would ask the State Government to look at is the possibility of imposing a, say, four hour limit on the use of disabled parking sports, with the exception, of course, of disabled person working in nearby premises. If the disabled spots are near medical facilities and a patient is required to stay more than four hours, a simple note from a medical practitioner would override any parking infringement notice. I’m not looking at imposing burdens or bureaucracy on those who use disabled parking permits in the spirit in which they are issued. What I am endeavouring to do is put a halt to the abuse of this special parking spots, parking spots that are intended to assist the disabled and not the rorters.