I got a PARK­ING FINE while BREAST­FEED­ING my baby in the back seat

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - SALLY COATES

A GOLD Coast mother was slapped with a $78 park­ing fine while breast­feed­ing her baby in the back of the car.

And it took two months and go­ing to the me­dia to have it over­turned by the Gold Coast City Coun­cil.

Mu­si­cian Nicky Con­vine (pic­tured) says she was on her way back from Casino in north­ern NSW, on Septem­ber 30, when her nine-month-old baby, River, be­came distressed in the back seat.

The Mi­ami woman pulled over into what turned out to be a me­tered bay on Con­nor St, Burleigh Heads, and got into the back to feed her scream­ing boy.

She says within 10 min­utes a park­ing in­spec­tor had put a $78 fine on her wind­shield – while she was in­side the car breast­feed­ing.

“We were al­most home and he was in­con­solable, it’s painful for me to hear my baby cry­ing when he needs me,” Mrs Con­vine said.

“You do what­ever you can, your mother’s in­stinct kicks in.

“I pulled over where I could and it was rain­ing at the time so I just jumped straight in the back to soothe my baby.

“I didn’t see any­one around un­til the ticket went un­der my wiper.

“I had to jump out and he seemed re­ally apolo­getic but said he couldn’t re­verse it and I would have to ap­peal.

“He seemed so un­der­stand­ing so I thought it would be an easy thing to do.”

Two days later, Mrs Con­vine emailed coun­cil ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

On Wed­nes­day, she re­ceived a re­sponse say­ing that her ap­peal had been de­nied be­cause her case did not fit within the pol­icy guide­lines.

The coun­cil Penalty In­fringe­ment No­tice (PIN) Re­view Pol­icy states that one ground for re­quest is “the af­fected per­son was un­able to com­ply with the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions of the law due to a cir­cum­stance out­side of their control”.

“It would be nice if there was some kind of com­pas­sion­ate hu­man con­nec­tion when it comes to the emails,” Mrs Con­vine said.

“It would be nice to know who’s re­ceiv­ing these re­sponses, who’s mak­ing the de­ci­sions at the end of the day. How many peo­ple are in the of­fice?

“Since it hap­pened, I’ve heard of so many peo­ple in tough sit­u­a­tions who have been stung as well.

“I think it’s a real prob­lem. It’s only $78 but it’s not the money, it’s the prin­ci­ple.”

Yesterday, a coun­cil spokesman told the Bul­letin while it stood by its de­ci­sion to ad­min­is­ter the fine, the coun­cil had now with­drawn it on “com­pas­sion­ate grounds”.

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