Overhaul of fine payment systems offers volunteering, instalment options for Bendigo debtors

Bendigo residents on low incomes will be able to “work off” fines through volunteering and victims of domestic violence will be able to get fines waived amid an overhaul of Victoria’s fines system.

A new body, Fines Victoria, replaces Civic Compliance Victoria this week.

Victims of domestic violence will no longer be liable for fines incurred by perpetrators, and people who are unable to pay outstanding fines will be able to work them off by volunteering.

Paying in instalments of as little as $5 per week will also become an option for some people.

Fines Victoria will consolidate penalties from different agencies and courts into one place, enabling them to be paid under a single payment arrangement and with greater payment options.

Department of Criminal Law Policy and Operations deputy secretary Ryan Phillips said those who ignored reminder notices could be slugged with other sanctions, including the suspension of their vehicle registration and preventing their licence from renewing their licence.  

“The new fines model creates a fairer balance for Victorians by providing better options for people suffering genuine hardship, while also ensuring those who can and should pay their fines do so,” Mr Phillips said.

The new fines model creates a fairer balance for Victorians by providing better options for people suffering genuine hardship, while also ensuring those who can and should pay their fines do so.

Ryan Phillips, deputy secretary

Figures released last year showed City of Greater Bendigo fine dodgers owed the state government more than $16 million in unpaid Sheriff’s Office fines. 

The central Victorian shire was ranked 33 out of 79 local government areas for unpaid fines in the January 2017 data.

The statistics showed 8,562 people racked up 34,098 fines in the previous financial year, with each debtor owing an average of $1900. 

Updated numbers are due for release before the end of this month.