Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Former Treasurer; Attorney General

    Fine defaulters to face new penalties

    22/03/2012 12:00 AM
    • New enforcement measures to include wheel clamping and removal of licence plates
    • Legislation to impact only on small section of serious and repeat fine defaulters
    Hard core fine defaulters will face new enforcement measures such as wheel clamping and the removal of licence plates under legislation to be introduced today into Parliament by the State Government.

    Attorney General Christian Porter said amendments to the Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Act 1994 would target a small section of fine defaulters who had continually ignored notices and requests to pay infringements and fines over a substantial period of time.  The laws will target those serious defaulters who have more than $2,000 worth of unpaid infringements and those serious defaulters who have in excess of $1,000 worth of court fines outstanding.

    “The Government has been concerned for some time that current options available to enforce the payment of fines by the small group of serious defaulters generally do not go beyond licence suspension,” Mr Porter said.

    “That is why we are introducing additional enforcement measures, such as wheel clamping and licence plate removal, to recover unpaid fines and infringements.”

    As at March 6, 2012, $251million was owed from 739,793 unpaid fines and infringements.

    “While most of the presently outstanding amount is under active recovery, some of it represents debts ignored by a hard core group of fine defaulters,” the Attorney General said.

    Mr Porter said if these offenders owned vehicles, they could have their wheels clamped for 48 hours or have their licence plates removed for 28 days. In the worse cases of refusal to pay, the removal of licence plates could be permanent, which would alert police to those serious defaulters who continue to drive while under licence suspension. 

    The legislation also provided for the publishing of the small group of the most serious fine defaulters names on a Government website.

    But the Attorney General said the Bill was not targeted at people with one-off transgressions and that time-to-pay arrangements would continue to apply.

    Those who face the new penalties include people who:
    • have managed to accumulate more than $2,000 worth of infringements and/or $1,000 worth of fines
    • have disregarded the many warning notices issued by both the prosecuting authority and the Fines Enforcement Registry over a significant period of time
    • have not arranged to go on time-to-pay arrangements even though they have faced licence suspension.
    “What is happening now is that a small group of serious fine defaulters have had their licences suspended but continue to drive and continue to avoid paying fines,” Mr Porter said.

    “The people who continue to drive while disqualified pose a risk to themselves and other road users by driving when they should not be, and while uninsured.”

    Clamped vehicles will carry a large and bold adhesive sticker to explain the penalty to the owner and the general public.

    “The wheel clamping measure is likely to compel payment from individual defaulters as well as providing an incentive to other serious defaulters who have up until now refused to pay off their outstanding fines or infringements,” the Attorney General said.

          Fact File
    • Fines are court-imposed fines whereas infringements include parking and speeding fines
    • It is estimated there are 12,000 West Australians who have more than $1,000 worth of unpaid court-ordered fines and 33,000 West Australians who have more than $2,000 worth of unpaid infringements
    • The proposed legislation also includes amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to ensure that the publication of a person’s name on the Government website cannot be used as a ground for discrimination in a number of circumstances, including in relation to employment and accommodation
    • The new enforcement measures will be subject to an evaluation after three years
    Attorney General's office - 6552 5600