Crackdown looms over $ 39m in unpaid fines
A CRACKDOWN on fine dodgers looms with Townsville residents racking up almost $ 39 million in unpaid debts.
Figures from the State Penalties Enforcement Register show speeding drivers, drunks, drug users, fare evaders and non- voters have accumulated a debt of $ 38,694,500.
The SPER data shows 20,051 people have 120,788 outstanding debts, or an average of six debts per person.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the number of outstanding debts had ballooned in Townsville.
I’ve requested urgent advice from my department as to how we can fix this problem TREASURER CURTIS PITT
“That’s why I’ve requested urgent advice from my department as to how we can fix this problem,” Mr Pitt said. “Unpaid fines around the 4810 and 4819 postcodes are a significant contributor ( to statewide debt), so we’re working on plans now to change that.”
The 4814 postcode, which includes Aitkenvale, Douglas, Vincent, Cranbrook, Mount Louisa and Garbutt, has the highest number of debtors – with 4389 people having debts totalling about $ 8.2 million.
The 4810 postcode, including some of the city’s most affluent suburbs, has the second highest number of debts, with more than $ 7.6 million owed by 3142 people who have accumulated 22,383 debts.
Driving- related offences accounted for the most number of outstanding debts, with 23,055 individual debts totalling more than $ 7 million.
Drunk and disorderly offenders have accrued a fines debt of $ 794,700, while nonvoters have racked up $ 648,900 in unpaid fines for failing to fulfil their civic duty.
And despite there being no toll roads in North Queensland, Townsville drivers owe $ 571,300 as a result of pay- as- you- go roads in the southeast.
Mr Pitt said ensuring the State got the best possible outcome in terms of debt management and debt collection was a concern. But he said people should contact SPER if they were struggling to pay.
The debt collection agency has a number of options to recover debts, including issuing a warrant for a person’s arrest. But police have confirmed no warrants have been issued in the region in the past year.