Wheel clamping to control parking on private property in Western Australia will be officially banned from December 14, 2020 – delivering on a McGowan Government commitment to outlaw the practice before the end of 2020.
The Road Traffic Act Amendment (Immobilisation, Towing and Detention of Vehicles) Act, passed by both houses of Parliament in November, makes the use of wheel clamping as a parking enforcement measure on private property a $5,000 offence.
The law and supporting regulations ensure wheel clamping – and other forms of vehicle immobilisation – can no longer be used to control private parking, bringing Western Australia into line with other States where the practice has been outlawed.
Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti vowed to outlaw wheel clamping following rising community concern after a series of wheel clamping incidents across Perth suburbs.
Feedback from the wider community reported serious concerns that wheel clamping had created perverse outcomes, including:
- discouraging customers from visiting businesses where wheel clampers were rampant;
- wheel clampers waiting for opportunities to clamp vehicles in a predatory manner;
- motorists intimidated into making immediate payments to have their vehicle released.
Drivers need to act responsibly and park only where authorised, with managers of private car parks able to control parking through infrastructure, ticketing, signage and enforcement through local parking agreements with local governments. Towing of unauthorised vehicles will be used as a last resort.
The new law also regulates the circumstances around when a vehicle can be towed and the costs of retrieval and storage.
To implement these new changes, the McGowan Government has allocated an additional $2.1 million in funding in the 2020-21 Mid-year Review, which will enable the Department of Transport to carry out the administration and enforcement activities.
This includes the appointment of transport investigation wardens, who will have powers of police officers when dealing with the offences under this legislation.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Wheel clampers have cashed in on WA motorists for the last time.
“We moved swiftly to ban this predatory practice – drafting the laws and passing them within the year, even with COVID-19 related legislation being prioritised.
“These new laws balance the needs of private businesses, customers visiting local shops, and guests to apartment buildings and houses.
“Western Australian families can now enjoy the festive season and not need to worry about returning to find their cars clamped.”
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“For a long time, wheel clamping has existed in a grey area of the law. The new laws make it very clear that it is no longer an acceptable practice.
“We have heard too many stories from vulnerable people forced to pay expensive on-the-spot charges to have their cars released by wheel clampers – enough is enough.
“There are better ways to regulate parking on private property than using heavy-handed and intimidating tactics.
“Through this new legislation, we have balanced the needs of private parking managers along with the rights of drivers to be treated fairly.”