Fine flouters face longer jail sen­tences

Pilbara News - - News - Amanda Banks

Peo­ple who flout fines could spend longer in jail to pay off their debts un­der op­tions be­ing ex­plored to re­coup an out­stand­ing bill that has blown out to al­most $362 mil­lion.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Michael Mischin is look­ing at re­duc­ing the $250-a-day “cut out” rate for time be­hind bars for fine de­fault­ers, as well as scrap­ping reg­u­la­tions that al­low of­fend­ers to clear their debts at the same time they are in jail for un­re­lated of­fences.

De­duct­ing money from tax re­funds, re­quir­ing fine de­fault­ers to hand over pass­ports while they owe money and gar­nish­ing so­cial se­cu­rity pay­ments are also be­ing ex­plored in a bid to make peo­ple pay out­stand­ing fines.

Depart­ment of the At­tor­ney­Gen­eral fig­ures show that de­spite tough mea­sures in­tro­duced more than two years ago to rein in the debt, the amount owed in un­paid in­fringe­ments and court fines had grown from $329.9 mil­lion in March to $361.9 mil­lion last month.

Un­der the string of phased-in mea­sures, the Fines En­force­ment Registry has col­lected $35.5 mil­lion more in fines over two years.

Since the stricter mea­sures came into ef­fect, which in­clude clamp­ing wheels and con­fis­cat­ing car reg­is­tra­tion plates for the worst de­fault­ers, the amount of money en­tered into time pay­ment ar­range­ments has in­creased from $54.5 mil­lion to $84.8 mil­lion.

Depart­ment fig­ures show a stag­ger­ing 306,847 peo­ple owe money on in­fringe­ments and al­most 72,000 have not paid court-im­posed fines. In the first six months of this year, 160,608 driver’s li­cence sus­pen­sions have been is­sued for non­pay­ment of fines, af­fect­ing 55,125 peo­ple.

Since the changes, which came into ef­fect in Au­gust 2013, 857 wheel clamps have been ap­plied to ve­hi­cles and 754 sets of reg­is­tra­tion plates have been re­moved.

Mr Mischin said he had been ex­plor­ing re­duc­ing the “cut out” jail rate for pay­ing off fines from $250 to en­cour­age of­fend­ers to pay or use com­mu­nity work or­ders.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Michael Mischin.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.