Melbourne has become a city deserted of practically all life – except the long arm of the law.
Well, the parking ticket officer, anyway.
As the midday bell echoed down a near empty Bourke Street Mall at lunchtime on Monday, police, soldiers and parking inspectors continued to patrol what now resembles an apocalyptic disaster zone.
Daily Mail Australia watched teams of flouro-wearing inspectors fining the limited number of Melburnians who actually had a reason to be in town.
The dreaded ‘Grey Ghosts’, as they are colloquially known, have been pinging Melbournians since Stage Four restrictions were implemented on August 3.
Parking inspectors continue to wander the streets of Melbourne fining confused and vulnerable Melburnians in their darkest hours
Three cars in a row along Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne’s court precinct have $83 fines placed under the windscreens
A City of Melbourne parking inspector dishes out another $83 of misery to a Melburnian in the CBD
On Monday, they had attached $83 fines to car after car along the Flagstaff Gardens near the CBD’s court precinct.
Round the gardens themselves, the only people appearing to get any exercise were the police and their team of soldiers, who continued to march about the city.
Daily Mail Australia watched parking inspectors fine a delivery van, which had parked too long in a 10 minute zone.
They walked up and down William Street, along Lonsdale, Queen and Collins streets fining motorists.
One man could hardly believe his eyes when he saw a ticket on his windshield.
‘I mean what the hell,’ he said as he peeled the fine from under his wipers.
‘There is no-one in the city. It’s a ghost town except for these blokes.’
Those fortunate enough to see the inspectors in time were told that they very much needed to feed the meters.
Along Lonsdale Street – a hot bed for parking inspectors under normal conditions – the inspectors continued to lay waste to those that dared overstayed their welcome, or simply believed they were able to park in the city for free.
One inspector was seen lurking down an alleyway like a spider ready to pounce on his prey.
During Melbourne’s first lockdown in March, Melbourne City Council lifted parking restrictions altogether, allowing motorists to stay in parking spots as long as they liked in any ‘green zone’.
The same happened in Sydney, Brisbane and every other city in Australia.
Lurking in the shadows: Inspectors pop out onto Lonsdale Street like spiders upon unsuspecting prey
A City Of Melbourne parking inspector hard at work on Monday in the CBD
Bourke Street Mall at midday on Monday resembled a ghost town. The bells echoed down its empty streets
Parking inspectors continue to swarm Melbourne’s completely deserted CBD
A man dashes to the parking meter after learning that restrictions still apply in Melbourne CBD
The City of Melbourne, which includes the CBD and suburbs like Carlton, Docklands and Southbank, collected $93 million in parking fees and fines collected in 2018-19.
In an act of kindness, the council – headed by Lord Mayor Sally Capp – said it would waive fines issued on August 6 and 7 due to the closure of off-street commercial car parks.
The move followed widespread criticism by the construction industry, which had been forced to park on the streets.
‘I don’t know how these guys are essential,’ one worker told Daily Mail Australia after he was fined last week.
Melbourne radio was awash with similar sentiment.
Melbourne City Council remains unapologetic about its penny pinching antics against a city decimated by COVID-19 lockdown laws.
‘(It’s) to make sure there is adequate turnover of car parks and people can access essential services where required. We understand this is a challenging time and will apply a reasonable grace period,’ its website states.
‘We’re mindful of the need to ensure vehicle turnover to support traders who are allowed to open, people needing to access essential services and the residents who live nearby.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews continues to come under fire for all of Victoria’s problems, including parking fines
A young driver cops an $83 fine in the CBD on Monday
Police continue to patrol Melbourne CBD looking for people breaking stage-four loc
‘Parking officers are still patrolling, both for safety reasons and to ensure parking is shared equitably between drivers. We understand this is a challenging time and will apply a reasonable grace period.’
The council claims its 8000 free temporary parking permits it issued to frontline health and emergency services workers responding to COVID-19 in April still apply.
Despite the fines fiasco coming straight out of Melbourne Town Hall, some Melburnians told Daily Mail Australia: ‘A fish rots from the head down’.
‘I want to leave this place now,’ one Melburnian, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘I’ve loved this place my whole life. Dan Andrews has killed it.’
It is a growing sentiment among many Melburnians, who continue to blame the Victorian premier for the second COVID outbreak and subsequent decimation of the Victorian economy.
On Friday, Daily Mail Australia revealed moves were underway by private business to oust Mr Andrews from the top job.
Few people remain in Melbourne’s CBD, which has been taken over by police and parking inspectors
Television news veteran George Donikian lashed out at the Victorian premier last week and asked the Commonwealth to take control
Bourke Street Mall is beginning to look like a scene out of a zombie movie
A petition has been established and backed by television news veteran George Donikian demanding Prime Minister Scott Morrison take control of the crisis, which has spiralled out of control under Mr Andrews’ watch.
His petition calls on Victoria to become a territory and placed under the Federal Government’s control.
On Monday, Victoria recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with another 19 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s death toll to 228.
Fourteen of the 19 deaths have been linked to aged care settings.
‘There are Victorians who want to be out. They want you out of office and they want Victoria to be declared a territory and to have the federal government take over the reins,’ Donikian said last week.
The veteran news presenter claimed Mr Andrews had ‘blood on his hands’.
‘He will be seen as responsible for the economic destruction of Victoria and for driving the levels of suicide, domestic violence and mental health to unprecedented levels. He has plenty of explaining to do,’ he said.