Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3341..
MS HUNTER (continuing):
through bilateral agreements with your state and territory colleagues to ensure this revenue is paid?
MR STANHOPE: I am not across that information, but it may be that the Attorney-General is.
MR CORBELL: Further to the answer from the Chief Minister, Mr Speaker, the government does have bilateral agreements in place with a number of jurisdictions. Again, it is the same challenge as exists in the ACT—the enforcement action needs to be taken by the relevant state agencies and those other jurisdictions, and that may occur opportunistically as police apprehend people for other matters and then fines are identified as being outstanding as a result of that apprehension. It might be a further traffic offence or it might be some other form of offence. But those mechanisms are currently in place in the same way that we provide that service for people who are here in the ACT from other jurisdictions and who may be identified as having unpaid fines in other jurisdictions.
It is worth drawing to the member's attention that the government did provide funding in the most recent budget to develop a new regime to help tackle the issue of unpaid fines. That includes additional enforcement in relation to court-imposed fines, additional enforcement officers through the courts, and also the development of a new regime to identify alternatives to jail as the last resort for people who have unpaid fines.
It is recognised generally that jail is the last resort for people who have unpaid fines. Often a jail sentence is completely inappropriate, even though the person has not paid the fine or is unable to enter into a repayment arrangement. In those circumstances, the government has provided funding for the development of a new policy which will be developed over the next 12 months for a community-based orders regime where the court will be able to order a person as an alternative to a jail sentence to undertake court-required community service activity. As part of that funding arrangement, we are putting in place and negotiating arrangements with a non-government organisation to provide that community-based service arrangement.
Finally, as part of that same project, the government is putting in place mechanisms with Centrelink and the commonwealth government to provide for the recovery of unpaid fines through Centrelink payments. It is clear that a very large number of people who have unpaid fines are on Centrelink benefits of one form or another, and it will be possible through reciprocal arrangements that we will negotiated over the next six to nine months to recover those outstanding fines through reciprocal arrangements in place with Centrelink.
MS PORTER: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the Minister for Education and Training. Will the minister update the Assembly on the benefits of the ACT and federal Labor governments' investment in schools, combined with this government's changes to the planning system and what benefits they are delivering local school communities and jobs?