How to tell the difference between council fines and private parking notices

It can be hard to tell the difference between a parking fine from the council or a notice issued from a private parking operator.

A notice left or sent to you by a private car park operator may look like a fine, and the private car park operator might even call it a fine, but it is actually a debt or a civil claim against you.

When should you do this?

The notice should say who has issued it. A council will use terms such as “Central Coast Council” or “City of Sydney”.

If you’re unsure, use the contact details listed on the notice and ask if they are a private car park operator or a local council. If you would like assistance, contact LawAccess.

infoImportant things to know

Debt or fine

A debt owed to a private car park operator is not actually a fine and cannot be enforced by Revenue NSW. A fine is a penalty notice or infringement issued by an authorised officer, such as the police or a local council.

Disputing the penalty

If the penalty was issued by the council or a private parking operator, you have the option to dispute the notice.

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cautionPlease don’t ignore your fine

If you do not take action by the due date you may pay more and be stopped from driving or using your car.