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New initiatives impacting on fines collection

New initiatives impacting on fines collection

New government initiatives in fines collection are starting to have an impact, Courts Minister Margaret Wilson said today.

“There has been a third quarter increase in cash collection and a decrease in the amount of fines overdue,” she said.

Initiatives have included the updating of the Collection Unit’s information technology system and significant investment in the expansion of its call centre capacity.

Margaret Wilson said the Collections Unit had collected a record $37.8 million of fines in the first three months of the year.

“This is $16.8 million more than the amount collected in the third quarter of 2002 and $5.6 million more than the previous best quarter’s collection of $32.2 million in 2001. Much of this increase can be attributed to the work of Collection’s expanded call centre, which I opened in early November.

“Another pleasing result is a $2.8 million reduction in the total amount of fines overdue as at 31 March 2003 from that overdue at 31 December 2002. This has been achieved in the face of a significant increase in impositions being lodged with Courts.”

As well as increasing their up-front collection of fines, Collections staff have also been busy locking-in time-to-pay arrangements for those fines defaulters unable to pay the full amount of their fine immediately. This has resulted in $27.5 million more fines under such arrangements than at the end of the second quarter, Margaret Wilson said.
The Minister also noted that Collections has been using the full range of enforcement powers available to it in legislation to collect overdue fines, which include: The seizure of property – in the year to date from 1 July 2002 to 21 March 2003, 1382 cars have been seized and held (pending payment of the fine) or sold (if the fine has not been paid).
Attachment orders against the income of fines defaulters, requiring the employer or government agency to deduct money from their wages, salary or benefit. There have been 69,684 such orders issued for the year to date from 1 July to 21 March 2003. Compulsory deduction notices requiring a fines defaulter’s bank to deduct money from his or her account – either by instalment or lump sum. There have been 771 deduction notices by instalment and 80 for lump sum deductions issued in the period 1 July 2002 to 21 March 2003.

“It is pleasing to see these positive trends in fines collections resulting from initiatives taken by the Government to assist the Department in its difficult task of collecting fines from hard-core defaulters,” Margaret Wilson said.

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