Assisting Justice Minister Kevin Minson said today people who lost their driver's licence because of unpaid fines and had not notified a change of address were highly unlikely to serve time in prison.
"While the fines legislation holds to the general principle that it is everyone's responsibility to pay their fines and notify changes of address, safety mechanisms have been put in place to cover those situations where people may not know they have been fined," Mr Minson said.
"Where people receive a notice of licence suspension and are unaware of the existence of a fine or infringement notice, they should seek clarification from the courts.
"If they were not present in court when a fine was imposed or did not personally receive an infringement notice, they can apply to the court to have the licence suspension removed."
Mr Minson said amendments to the fines legislation meant people who received court fines and were not present in court could seek a re-hearing.
People who did not have a driver's licence and received notification of an intention to seize goods to the value of their fines could also use the same process.
"However, if a person has no driver's licence, or loses the licence under this legislation and has no goods to cover the value of the fines, there is a further option open to them," Mr Minson said.
They will be required to complete a work and development order at the rate of $100 for a six-hour day.
If a person refused to attend the work order or consistently refused to do the work, they could then face imprisonment to clear the fine at $50 per day.
Mr Minson said the Government had appointed Aboriginal Liaison Officers to most major country courts.
"Their role is to help Aboriginal people understand the fines enforcement legislation and to promote time-to-pay arrangements in order to pay off the fines," he said.
"Ministry of Justice teams have visited most country towns to explain the new system, particularly those with big Aboriginal populations.
"Under contracts with Aboriginal communities, work and development orders can be carried out under the supervision of the community.
"The system is designed to prevent people from being gaoled for non-payment of fines, not put them there."
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