Several people casting their federal election vote at Craigieburn’s early voting centre were fined by Hume council for parking on a nature strip.
Frustrated voters took to social media to vent in the past two weeks after receiving fines from the council for parking on the nature strip opposite the early voting centre at the Cathouse Theatre on Potter Street.
Parking in the vicinity of the theatre is limited, with spaces in the theatre carpark taken up by Australian Electoral Commission staff and volunteers.
A nearby carpark is used by rail commuters, while one side of Potter Street is a no standing zone.
Many of the voters claimed they were instructed to park on the nature strip by a man outside the theatre.
A spokeswoman for the AEC said none of the commission’s staff or volunteers had been advising electors where they should park.
Star Weekly believes the man directing people where to park was at the theatre to distribute flyers on behalf of an election candidate.
Hume council corporate services director Daryl Whitfort defended the council’s decision to fine motorists, saying it had received complaints about parking around the early voting centre.
He confirmed several infringements were issued to motorists illegally parked on Potter Street.
“Parking on the nature strip is illegal under the Victorian road rules and local government is under a legal obligation to enforce this,” Mr Whitfort said. “Illegally parked cars on the nature strips and in no stopping zones are a hazard to other drivers, pedestrians, and also block access to local businesses.”
The AEC has come under fire from voters for choosing the Cathouse Theatre as the venue for its early voting centre, given the shortage of parking in the area.
The AEC spokeswoman said the commission had no control over carpark availability. Late last week, the owners of a factory opposite the theatre opened their land for voters to park on in a bid to alleviate congestion on the street.
Voters in Craigieburn helped to overwhelming return Calwell MP Maria Calwell with the Labor MP securing 69 per cent of the two-party preferred vote as of Sunday evening.
McEwen MP Rob Mitchell was also returned, with 55 per cent of the two-party preferred vote as of Sunday. Scullin MP Andrew Giles was also re-elected.