Illawarra Mercury by BEVAN SHIELDS
Government coffers are being filled with nearly $20,000 a day from Illawarra drivers falling victim to speed cameras and parking officers.
An analysis of NSW Office of State Revenue data shows Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama motorists were hit with $8.7million in various fines between July last year and November this year.
However, it is unclear how much, if any, was funnelled back to the region for improved services and infrastructure.
Nearly 20,000 lead-foot drivers were the State Government’s top revenue raisers, netting $4.1million, while parking fines were a lucrative source of income for Wollongong City Council, delivering $3.2million.
Five safety cameras in Wollongong, Unanderra, Figtree and Windang have earned $362,207 in just a few months.
A safety camera on the corner of Gladstone Ave and Crown St has nabbed 336 red-light runners while another on the Princes Hwy at Figtree caught 309.
Traffic fines are a common gripe for residents, with some of the region’s busiest roads targeted by fixed and mobile speed cameras.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said if people didn’t speed, they wouldn’t receive speeding fines.
When asked how much penalty notice revenue was put back into the Illawarra, Mr Gay said all funds from traffic offences go into consolidated revenue.
Lake Illawarra police have nabbed 1287 speeding drivers this financial year while Wollongong police busted 1170.
Thirty-four people were clocked travelling more than 45km/h over the limit.
Fixed speed cameras at Gwynneville, Corrimal, Warrawong, Figtree and Bulli have also been huge earners, bringing in nearly $500,000 between July and November this year.
A camera on the F6 at Gwynneville was responsible for roughly half that amount, however, the presence of the camera has produced results.
In 2004-05, the camera snapped 15,836 northbound motorists speeding but last financial year that had fallen considerably to 3115.
That individual camera has hauled $8.23million in fines since 2004-05.
Meanwhile, some 115 drivers have been caught not wearing their seatbelts since July this year, while 352 people were busted talking on their mobile phones while driving.
The NSW Office of State Revenue data also showed Wollongong council has raised $3.2 millionfrom 2494 different parking fines since July 2010.
Based on the data, an average of 110 people are issued with some form of traffic or parking fine each day in the Illawarra.
Mr Gay urged motorists to obey the road rules.
In July, Mr Gay ordered more than a quarter of the state’s speed cameras be switched off after an audit found they were having little impact on improving road safety.