I continue to work with local residents and businesses to find solutions to the problem of people camping in backpacker vans in parts of Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo.
State legislative reform is needed. It is currently legal in NSW to sleep in or sell a parked vehicle, which means council rangers cannot take action, even when there are significant negative impacts.
I have written to the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Roads asking that Councils be given these powers. I have sought the support of the Local Government and Shires Association in advocating for changes to the law.
If I am re-elected as Member for Sydney, I will put this request to the incoming Government and ask for urgent action. If the Government doesn't respond, I will introduce a Private Members Bill.
At my request, City staff recently attended two community meetings in Victoria Street to discuss solutions. A number of actions were agreed and, following the first meeting, I wrote to the Minister for Roads and the Shadow Minister for Roads and Ports to ask if the unused RTA-owned William Street site could be used as a place for backpackers to buy and sell vehicles. The CEO is also investigating other alternative locations.
The City is beginning a campaign with the Kings Cross police targeting defective vehicles in the area and we are further boosting ranger patrols. The City is allocating dedicated rangers to Victoria and Brougham streets to ensure that every vehicle is closely monitored. Plain clothed rangers will also be enforcing parking restrictions using photographic evidence.
Since 9 August 2010, rangers have issued over 2000 penalty notices to vehicles parked incorrectly in the tow away areas of Kings Cross. 24 vehicles have been towed. The City will continue to fine vehicles if they are parked contrary to the parking restrictions. Vehicles that have been fined twice for parking illegally will be towed away if their owners can't be located.
Following requests at the first community meeting, the City consulted locally about the possibility of introducing metered parking in Victoria Street to deter backpacker vehicles from overstaying. We will not proceed with this proposal due to community opposition.
If you want fewer backpacker vehicles causing problems in Victoria Street, I urge you to also write to the new Minister for Local Government immediately after the election. Report all incidents of anti-social behaviour, including people urinating in public and breaching Alcohol Free Zones, to Kings Cross Police on 8356 0099.