Traffic wardens doing bad job, says says audit chief

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 1994, 12:00am

TRAFFIC wardens are branded lazy and incompetent in an annual report on government waste to be published this week.

Malingering wardens, blamed for losing the Government $30 million in revenue last year, are also seen as a 'contributing factor' to the worsening traffic congestion in the territory.

Members of the Legislative Council's Public Accounts Committee are expected to grill the administration over this and up to six other misuses of public funds, when the Director of Audit, Brian Jenney, presents his report on Wednesday.

The section on traffic wardens says the number of fixed penalty tickets issued shows they are not doing their job as well as they should.

It is estimated that $30 million in revenue was lost last year because drivers were allowed to get away with over-staying at metered parking bays.

Last night a television news report revealed the Government received only $120 million from fixed parking tickets last year, against $150 million audit staff estimated they should have collected.

'The discrepancy between the expected and actual parking meter revenue reflects the seriousness of the problem of non-feeding of parking meters which the traffic wardens corp has failed to combat,' the report says.

It says the number of tickets issued by traffic wardens shot up dramatically on the days they were accompanied by the audit staff who compiled the report, with the wardens issuing between 80 and 200 per cent more than the average number they issued while working alone.

Traffic warden teams were set up in 1974 in the belief it would speed up the parking enforcement previously carried out by police.

But far from taking over their work, the statistics show police are still issuing more tickets than the wardens.

Wardens now issue only 34 per cent of all tickets, down from 53 per cent a decade ago.

'The law enforcement action from the wardens was not adequate and this is a contributing factor to traffic congestion,' the report concludes.