Amnesty fee waiver campaign

In 2014-2015 5.32 million infringement notices were issued in Victoria. For those experiencing hardship, issuing agencies may offer the option of paying by instalment payment plans. Infringement notices that impacts most significantly on disadvantaged people are:

  • Public order offences
  • Moving vehicle offences
  • Parking offences
  • Public transport offences

Infringements for these offences are issued by government agencies such as Victoria Police, VicRoads, Local Government Councils and Public Transport Victoria. The problem with administrative and enforcement fees is that in effect, it creates two levels of penalties. One level for those who can afford to pay on time, and a second higher level for those who may not have been able to comply due to their personal circumstance (such as financial hardship) and are therefore liable to additional penalties as a result.

These administrative and enforcement fees can substantially increase the outstanding amounts, imposing further financial burden on people struggling with daily expenses. For those who are unable to pay due to lack of income, to sudden life events and other financial difficulties, these additional fees can make the difference to quality of life of struggling families.

In 2010, a 7-week Fines Payment Incentive Program (‘fee waiver’) waved administrative fees and costs on fines for people who pay their fines or enter into a payment plan. In some cases, applying for the waiver could result in a saving of up to $120 per fine. According to the Attorney-General’s annual report on the infringement system 2009-2010, state government agencies, and twenty local councils participated, resulting in fees valued at $89.8 million waived and participants taking action to resolve outstanding fines of $112.9 million.

This year, Casey North CISS is calling for support for another amnesty fee waiver “to create an opportunity for people to negotiate and settle fines in a realistic way.”

CISVic supports this campaign, and further to an amnesty, CISVic endorses the Victoria Legal Aid Position Paper on Vulnerable people and fines (October 2013) and call on the Government to enact changes so that:

  • Where a matter is heard in the Special Circumstances List, there is automatic waiver of administrative and enforcement fees (Recommendation 26),
  • Magistrates to have a general discretion to waive administrative and enforcement fees in all infringement matters (Recommendation 27),
  • The statutory power for tollway providers to charge an administrative fee be repealed; alternatively that the court have the express power to waive tollway administration fees (Recommendation 28), and
  • The court continue the use of court issued payment notices for tollway administration fees (Recommendation 29).

How agencies can support the campaign.

1. Talk to your local MP

Raise the issue with your local state member, asking them to support the campaign -  download this summary to help you make your case. Find your local MP here.

2. Write to the Attorney General, Martin Pakula MP

Write a letter to the Attorney General, asking them to support the campaign - download this template letter and fill in your details; case stories often have the most impact so add somed if you have them

3. Email the Attorney General, Martin Pakula MP

You can email the Attorney General directly here. Please remember to add your Local Government Area in the text of the email.