It’s a tale as old as time. You’re just one or two minutes late getting back to your car, and you see a parking ranger in the distance. And there’s definitely a fine under your windscreen wipers.

Well, you won’t have to endure that scenario (or lose a whole month’s eating-out budget in one go) any longer. The NSW Government has introduced a 10-minute grace period on parking fines, meaning no more pushing aside old ladies and prams to get to your car before the meter runs out. It’s part of a new reform package the government has implemented to save motorists money.

The new leniency only applies to motorists who have paid for a parking ticket or coupon for at least an hour, and doesn’t apply to private car parks, meters that don’t issue tickets, and bus lanes, clearways, transit lanes, mail zones and special event parking.

“This is a common-sense approach to parking penalties that doesn’t impact road safety,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in a statement. “People shouldn’t have their day ruined or their weekly budget compromised for a slight delay in returning to their car when they’ve shown intent to do the right thing.

“Stress levels on parking inspectors should also lessen, as they have an opportunity to show some leniency when issuing fines.”

The move follows changes that began rolling-out last July, with the government cutting 25 per cent from its 10 most common parking fines. At the start of this year, another 42 parking offences were added to the list of discounted penalties.

Councils and universities will be allowed to decide whether to lower their fines. So far 18 councils and five universities have opted to reduce their penalties.

“I’m delighted but frankly not surprised there’s been so much interest in lowering parking fines,” says Perrottet. “They’ve been far too expensive for too long – higher than many other cities, including New York and London.

“Fines should be used as deterrents, [they’re] not a license to print money and I encourage more councils and authorities to come on board and do the right thing by their communities.”

For more information visit nsw.gov.au.