Overview

The Fines Reform Advisory Board was asked by the government to provide independent advice on how the fines system is working since reforms introduced by the Fines Reform Act 2014 that took effect at the start of 2018.

This advice considered the four key intentions of fines reform:

  1. Improving the administration of the collection and enforcement of fines
  2. A fair, transparent and streamlined review process, reducing the burden on courts
  3. Deterring fine avoidance
  4. Supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people through social justice initiatives

Summary report

The Fines Reform Advisory Board has delivered its Report on the Delivery of Fines Reform and the Attorney-General, the Hon Jill Hennessy MP has announced that the government has accepted 13 of the recommendations in full or in principle with the remaining 11 recommendations to be considered following further consultation with the sector.

The report follows four months of consultation with fine recipients and stakeholders of Victoria’s fines system, including community members and organisations who contributed submissions via this Engage Victoria platform and by email.

Based on these consultations, a review of fines legislation and the Fines Victoria forward IT technology plan, the Advisory Board made 24 recommendations to further improve the way the Victorian fines system operates.

This includes a number of recommendations to improve outcomes for the state’s most vulnerable fine recipients, including:

  • making it easier for vulnerable people to prove special circumstances
  • widening access to programs which allow fines to be worked off through particular activities
  • allow more prisoners to convert their outstanding fines into time served in custody and extend it to unsentenced prisoners on remand.

A copy of the report, and the Victorian Government’s response, is available below.

The Advisory Board thanks all Victorians who contributed to the review, including fines system stakeholders and individual fine recipients who shared their experience with the fines system to help improve it for all Victorians.

Recommendations and Victorian Government response

Recommendation

Government response

1

A shared understanding of the aims of Fines Reform

Support in full

2

An organisational structure that best supports the Director, Fines Victoria to perform his or her functions

Support in principle

3

Guidelines that promote consistency and fairness in administrative decision-making for (enforcement agencies (recommendation 3.1) and Fines Victoria (recommendation 3.2))

Support in principle

4

More robust oversight of the infringements system

Further consider

5

Improved community confidence through reporting obligations

Support in full

6

More effective and transparent performance monitoring

Further consider

7

Improved access and outcomes for vulnerable people through a reformulated nexus test

Support in principle

8

A better balance between fairness to fine recipients and road safety

Support in full

9

A more accessible Work and Development Permit (WDP) scheme

Further consider

10

Guidelines on waivers of infringement fines under WDPs

Support in full

11

Increased sponsor participation in the WDP scheme through funding

Further consider

12

A more accessible Time Served scheme

Further consider

13

An administrative process to make Time Served orders

Further consider

14

Better integration of the multiple pathways for vulnerable fine recipients

Support in full

15

Fairer payment options for those in financial hardship

Support in full

16

Referral of fine recipients with high, unrecoverable fine debt to the Magistrates’ Court for an enforcement hearing

Support in principle

17

Final and binding enforcement review decisions

Further consider

18

Additional time to obtain evidence for enforcement review applications on the grounds of special or exceptional circumstances

Support in full

19

Effective information-sharing between the Director, Fines Victoria and enforcement agencies to improve administrative decision-making

Further consider

20

Powers for toll operators to withdraw tolling infringements

Support in principle

21

Additional time for fine recipients to access options to deal with unpaid fines

Support in principle

22

A transparent community and stakeholder communication model

Further consider

23

Additional measures to support backlog management

Further consider

24

A robust and co-designed operating model for the fines ecosystem

Further consider

Help with fines

The Advisory Board can’t resolve issues with your fines. Information about dealing with fines can be found at www.fines.vic.gov.au or by contacting the enforcement agency or court that issued the fine.

Collection Notice

The Fines Reform Advisory Board is committed to protecting personal information that you share in accordance with the privacy principles in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (VIC). The Advisory Board will use, manage and protect any personal information collected from you in accordance with these laws.

The Advisory Board will not disclose any information without your consent, except where required to do so by law.

You may contact the Advisory Board to request access to your personal information, or regarding other concerns regarding the privacy of your personal information at FinesAdvisoryBoard@justice.vic.gov.au.

If you do not wish to provide your personal information the Advisory Board will not be able to inform you when the public report is released or identify your story if you wish to access it, make a correction or require technical support.

For more information on how the advisory board uses, manages and protects any personal information collected from you and how you can access and correct that information, please refer to the Fines Reform Advisory Board Information Privacy Policy.