News

Debt collectors to recover $20m in upaid fines: Nicholls

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls. Dave Hunt

IPSWICH fine evaders have racked up more than $20 million in SPER debt to the Queensland Government.

It is a steep drop from 2010, when The Queensland Times reported debt dodgers owed $29 million in court fines.

But SPER debt searches are conducted using postcodes so variations are not unusual depending on the search parameters.

This figure is hoped to decrease even more as the government prepares to crack down on the people who are not paying fines.

Reforms to the State Penalties Enforcement Act passed through Parliament mid-year enabling debt collection agents to be contracted to step in and deal with people not paying fines received from police, courts and councils.

The State Penalties Enforcement Registry said the number of unpaid fines had "significantly" increased, due to a growing population and because automatic red light and speed cameras were catching more people.

MAKING HEADLINES TODAY...

Pet cat Mufasa is main suspect in stuffed toys mystery

30-year-old in jail again after facing court for the 72nd time

The registry said its debt pool was likely to reach $1 billion in 2016-17 if no changes were made.

A spokeswoman for Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls said they were stepping up a legislative reform program to combat this.

"These reforms will reduce the outstanding debt and will also send a clear message to the community that enough is enough when it comes to debtors who have the financial capacity to pay their fines but choose not to," the spokeswoman said.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said he had no problem with the legislation changes, so long as people were not thrown in jail for being poor.

He suggested the government implement the HECS model university students used.

MAKING HEADLINES TODAY...

Being single in Ipswich will hurt the hip pocket

Decision to keep Swanbank open is about asset sales: Union

The Queensland Law Society suggested the SPER system was flawed in a submission in July to a government crime inquiry.

President Ian Brown criticised arrest and imprisonment warrants for debtors, saying people were denied natural justice as they were not required to appear before court to explain why they could not pay.

Mr Brown noted the Victorian court system also had options to not only jail, but discharge fines for debtors with mental or intellectual impairments or in special circumstances, and adjourn hearings for up to six months.

While there will be extra costs in contracting more debt collectors, the government expected this would be "more than offset by the increased revenue," the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill stated.

There will be a staged implementation with the new model fully in place by July 2015.

MAKING HEADLINES TODAY...

Ex-Ipswich schoolboy Auva'a set for NRL decider

Registration stickers scrapped from today

WHAT WE OWE

  • Debtors: 9934
  • Debts: $20,404,230

Topics:  ian berry queensland law society sper debts unpaid fines



Ipswich CBD bank to close for good

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.

Not enough physical customers to keep doors open

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Local Partners

Your gig guide to a great night out in Ipswich

The latest on the live music scene across the city.

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Bush balladeer brings bruised blues to Brissie

BRIGHT FUTURE: Jordan Merrick has just released his EP, In Colour.

Singer-songwriter Jordan Merrick on his debut EP, In Colour

Ipswich lad 'Robbo' brings Studio 10 home to Nanna

REUNION: Studio 10 roving reporter David 'Robbo' Robinson broadcast the Channel 10 shows live from Ipswich with his grandmother Jan Wells.

And Eastern Heights fan plays host in the TV thrill of her life

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!