Crack­down looms over $ 39m in un­paid fines

ART­FUL DODGERS

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

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.

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