THE Premier Daniel Andrews was stopped in his tracks today, Tuesday, August 11, at his 11.45am COVID-19 update briefing.

He was left momentarily speechless when asked by a reporter if he knew traffic inspectors were still issuing tickets during Stage Four lockdown.

“Are you aware that a doctor in ICU at the Royal Melbourne found she had been issued with a parking ticket on finishing her shift this week. Should health workers be issued with tickets under the present circumstances?”

The Premier was at a loss.

“Let me follow that one up but let me say that someone who is doing the serious work of saving people’s lives shouldn’t be the subject of a parking ticket,” Mr Andrews said.

He noted that parking inspectors were the responsibility of the City of Melbourne, but he undertook to follow up on the specific case raised by the reporter.

But it begs the question: should parking inspectors be issuing fines locally during Stage Three restrictions when people are already under pressure?

The Sentinel-Times put the question to the local councils, Bass Coast and South Gippsland.

South Gippsland Shire Council: “Local Laws officers have continued to provide a range of services throughout the Shire during the stage 3 lockdown, and are responding to parking complaints as they come in. In most cases they have been able to communicate with the owners of the vehicles and resolve the issue. Officers have been mindful of local businesses and the impact this virus has had on them, and are not patrolling or issuing parking infringements unless there is a safety concern.”

Fair enough.

But what do you think? Should our local councils give their parking officers a holiday and/or move them to alternate duties for the duration of the pandemic?