Parliament protects car parkers 

THE personal details of motorists will no longer have to be handed over to private car park operators chasing ‘‘fines’’, under changes to laws that have passed state Parliament.

Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell and Newcastle MP Tim Owen  declared the change good news for shoppers who had been stung at Aldi car parks in the region.

Several shoppers hit with ‘‘fines’’  had complained about being pursued by parking operators and debt collectors.

Under the new legislation, Roads and Maritime Services will no longer be compelled to provide information on  registered vehicle owners, having previously released details of more than 150,000 people under local court orders.

Roads minister Duncan Gay said the government was concerned about the practices of some pay and display operators who issued payment notices when  a ticket was not displayed even during a free parking period.

Among those pursued for fees was Cardiff South resident Joy White, who was issued a notice for not having a ticket displayed at Aldi’s Cardiff store while she was getting one from a ticket machine about three years ago.

‘‘I was ropeable,’’ she said.

Mrs White complained to the store and its parking contractor, Australian National Car Parks. She thought the notice had been waived, but received a fine for $84 about six months ago.

‘‘I was surprised they got access to my details,’’ she said.

She complained to Mr Cornwell, who succeeded in getting the parking operator to abandon the fee notice.

‘‘This is typical of the complaints I’ve received,’’ Mr Cornwell said. ‘‘They’re not a statutory authority, people should get advice before paying.’’ 

Mr Owen said he’d also received similar complaints from residents about notices for parking at Aldi’s Cooks Hill and Hamilton stores, also run by Australian National Car Parks.

An Aldi spokeswoman declined to comment yesterday. Attempts to reach Australian National Car Parks for comment were unsuccessful.

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