3000 named for unpaid fines

MORE than 3000 Tasmanians have been named and shamed on a public website for failing to pay almost $60 million in fines and infringements.

Latest figures show that in the last financial year, the state lost $58 million in revenue from outstanding fines.

As a sanction for not paying up, the full name, address and amount owing by Tasmanians is listed on the Monetary Penalty Enforcement Service website.

One Exeter woman has racked up 120 fines, to the tune of $25,000 and a Blackstone Heights man has $18,000 owing for 27 unpaid fines.

Legislation allowing the publication of names was introduced in 2008, aimed at encouraging people to tidy up their debts to the state.

The most common infringements were traffic, fishing and boating related fines.

A spokeswoman from the Monetary Penalty Enforcement Service said naming people was an effective means of enforcement, and ruled out taking it further such as publishing names and photos in newspapers.

``New techniques are not required as the current legislated measures are very effective and there is no need to change a system that is working well,'' the spokeswoman said.

But the state government has begun consultation to try and increase the amount of revenue that can be clawed back.

``We are in consultation with the department to develop cost effective measures to increase the amount of fines recouped,'' the spokesman said.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy said naming people was the wrong approach, and some amounts were ``totally unrealistic'' for people living in tough economic circumstances.

``We've long argued for fines to be levied in accordance with people's income,'' Mr Reidy said.

``It's pushing some people into impossible spirals of debt,'' he said.

Other sanctions for those with unpaid fines include suspension of driver licences and vehicle registration, and seizure and sale of assets.

MPES said a range of flexible payment plans were available and it was ``never too late'' to deal with outstanding money.

 For information on unpaid fines contact the MPES on 1300 366 776


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