This week I introduced a Private Members Bill into Parliament to give councils the power to make it illegal for backpackers to sell their vehicles on certain streets where they are causing inconvenience to residents and business.
Backpackers are currently taking advantage of legal loopholes and parking their vehicles on city streets for days and weeks on end in a bid to sell them before they leave the country.
Residents are sick and tired of people using Victoria Street, Potts Point and Brougham Street, Woolloomooloo as a car sales yard. This Bill will give councils the legal powers they need to stamp out the practice.
The Bill allows councils to put up signs stopping the sale of vehicles on certain roads. Put simply, it's about freeing up limited road space for residents, businesses and visitors.
In some council areas, signs have been erected preventing camping on community land, such as a park or a beach. However, the issue facing the City of Sydney, and many other Councils, is backpackers using public roads to sell their vehicles and with current laws we can't legally do anything to prevent them.
Repeated assurances by the Minister for Local Government that Councils can legally stop the problem are just not true. The existing law prevents councils from prohibiting vehicle sales on nominated streets.
My Private Members Bill builds on existing measures by City of Sydney to deal with the problem.
Rangers spend on average 80 hours a week patrolling Victoria and Brougham streets checking every parked vehicle. Up to 35 vehicles are offered for sale on Victoria Street, with the problem at its peak in the warmer months.
We welcome backpackers and international visitors but we also have a responsibility to ensure their actions don't unfairly impact local residents and businesses with anti social behaviour, excessive rubbish, noise and lack of parking space.
Backpackers should use normal commercial channels to sell their vehicles like everyone else and the City of Sydney is also looking at ways to help them do this.
The Bill will be debated in Parliament over coming weeks and I will keep you advised on its progress.