Roads and parking
Councils have responsibilities and powers in relation to roads and parking. This includes responsibility for the construction and maintenance of roads, traffic management on local roads, issuing parking permits and enforcing parking regulations.
Councils are responsible for the construction and maintenance of local roads. This includes monitoring the standard of these roads and undertaking repairs when required. It should be noted that the costs of maintaining roads can be significant and councils usually have to prioritise road construction and maintenance projects.
Councils are not responsible for all roads in their areas. Main roads (or arterial roads) are usually the responsibility of VicRoads. Some councils undertake road works in their areas under contract to VicRoads.
Some roads are undeclared roads. That is, they are private roads that have not been declared public highways. A council may declare a road to be a public highway, in which case the council becomes responsible for the care and management of the road and may exercise its road management powers in relation to that road.
Special charge schemes for road construction
Where road works will provide a special benefit to particular properties, councils may levy special rates or charges on the owners of those properties to pay for all or part of the cost of the works. This power is limited in a number of ways and is subject to certain consultation and objection processes. See special rates and charges.
Road Management Plan
The Roads Management Act requires councils (and other road management authorities like VicRoads) to have a road management plan covering all the roads for which they are responsible. A council’s road management plan outlines its responsibilities, includes a list of its road assets and details the standards of service, maintenance and construction for roads in each municipality. Each plan describes how a council will inspect, maintain and repair the public roads for which it is responsible, to better meet community expectations.
Councils are responsible for local parking arrangements in their municipality. This includes issuing parking permits and enforcing parking regulations.
Councils may issue parking permits for priority parking in particular areas. It is not uncommon for councils, particularly in busy metropolitan areas, to issue parking permits for residents in residential areas and for businesses in business precincts. Councils also issue disabled parking permits. For details about parking permits in your local area, contact your local council.
Council roads and traffic powers
Councils have a number of powers in relation to local roads. These are described in detail in Schedule 10 of the Local Government Act and include powers to:
- discontinue roads
- deviate roads
- alter road levels or widths
- rename roads
- erect road signs
- require people to number their premises
Councils also have a number of powers in regard to traffic under schedule 11 of the Local Government Act. These include powers to restrict the use of roads in some circumstances, as well as some powers to determine speed limits. Councils also have powers in regard to parking and may issue special parking permits, remove abandoned vehicles and place or remove barriers on roads.
Parking laws exist to ensure safe and fair use of Victoria's roads for everyone’s benefit. People who park illegally risk being fined.
People authorised by the council may issue parking tickets when someone has parked illegally. An authorised person will have an identity card which they will display on request.
A person who receives a parking fine has 28 days to pay the fine. If they don’t pay the fine within that time they will generally incur additional costs. If a fine continues to remain unpaid, a warrant can be issued and property can be seized and sold to satisfy the amount owing.
If you are having difficulties paying your fine, contact the council to discuss payment arrangements.
If you have received a parking fine from a council but believe you should not have to pay the fine, you can write to the council explaining your objection and asking for the fine to be withdrawn.
If you are dissatisfied with the council’s handling of your fine, or your request for the fine to be withdrawn, you may lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office. The Ombudsman’s Office can make enquiries or undertake an investigation and make recommendations to the council. However, the Ombudsman’s Office cannot overturn your fine.
You may request that your case heard by a magistrate’s court, which does have the power to overturn your fine. If you succeed at the court hearing the fine will be withdrawn. However, if you are unsuccessful you will have to pay the fine plus additional court and council costs.