Laws have been passed through the ACT legislative assembly which reform the Territory’s system of traffic fine administration and give people on low incomes a fair go. This legislation establishes:
- Options to pay fines through installments;
- A system of community work and social development programs, which people on low income or with special circumstances can undertake in lieu of payments;
- Options to waive fines in special circumstances;
- Opportunities to provisionally reinstate a person’s license when they are participating in a payment plan (only for licenses suspended for late fines)
Prior to these changes, it had been identified that the ACT’s system required significant reform to mitigate disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged people, including those with ATOD related problems, and be an effective system for collecting revenue.
ATODA welcomes these developments as an important step forward towards reforming the entire infringement system in the ACT. For further details on how ATOD relates to infringements see ATODA’s paper.
The Downward Spiral: How a fine can cause homelessness in the ACT
Street Law, a project of the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre that provides legal services to persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, released a report in 2011 outlining how the current infringement scheme can contribute to homelessness among disadvantaged ACT residents, why this occurs, and how it can be addressed. The report highlights specific consideration of persons experiencing “Addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance.” ATODA broadly supports the recommendations made by Street Law.
ACT Infringement Schemes Reform – including ATOD offences
Priority 4 of ATODA’s budget submission called for reform to the ACT’s infringement system, which should include a focus on alcohol, tobacco and other drug offences and linkages with diversion. An evaluation of a NSW scheme, similar to the one proposed, has demonstrated that reform has reduced reoffending, increasing social inclusion, supported people to access drug treatment and support and increased the re-payment processes. See ATODA’s submission to the ACT Budget 2012 – 2013 for details regarding how reforming the system could reduce re-offending and poverty and promote social inclusion.
Greens’ infringements laws will assist Canberra’s most vulnerable
Amanda Bresnan MLA, Media Release 22 February 2012
The ACT Greens will today table new legislation to improve the ACT’s system of traffic fine administration and improve social justice outcomes in Canberra.
Greens Transport Spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, said that the current system of traffic fine administration was resulting in harsh and unjust outcomes for Canberra’s most vulnerable individuals and families.
“It has been described as a ‘sledgehammer approach’, and the fact is that it is ruining people’s lives,” said Ms Bresnan.
Road Transport (General) (Infringement Notices) Amendment Bill 2012
For more information about the Bill view the briefing paper released by the ACT Greens
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT
(02) 6249 6358
Last updated 6 November 2012