LABOR has joined lawyers and community groups in urging the state government to scrap plans to slug convicts with automatic extra fines.
But Premier Will Hodgman is standing firm, saying it is only fair that convicts contribute to running costs for the criminal justice system.
Parliament is this week expected to debate laws hitting criminals sentenced at the Magistrates Court with a mandatory $50 levy, which jumps to $150 at the Supreme Court.
Convicts will still need to pay an existing victims of crime levy as well as court costs.
Opposition justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings said the proposed new levy was a money-grabbing exercise devoid of any positive outcomes.
‘‘How on earth they expect to be able to get this money out of already struggling people, vulnerable Tasmanians, is beyond me,’’ she said.
‘‘What we will be doing by putting this $50 tax on people is making it even harder for them to get ahead, and there will be no discretion from the magistrates to determine what is a fair and reasonable outcome.’’
Courts will not have a choice about whether or not to impose the conviction costs, but child offenders will not have to pay.
Those who fail to pay may have their driver’s licence or vehicle registration suspended, property seized or sold, or their wages and savings diverted.
The costs cannot be waived or converted to a fine or imprisonment.
Australian Lawyers Alliance state president Henry Pill labelled the levy an unfair tax, describing it is another barrier to accessing justice.
‘‘We are already dealing with people who find themselves in crushing poverty and who are often unemployed,’’ he said.
‘‘Slugging them with a ‘crime levy’ only compounds the problem.’’
TasCOSS has similar concerns about the policy.
However, Mr Hodgman said law-abiding Tasmanians shouldn’t be expected to foot the entire bill for running the state’s courts.
‘‘We think it’s fair that if you do the crime, not only do you do the time but you also pay for those costs,’’ he said.