Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 207 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.44): Mr Speaker, I present the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
The Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill amends the Motor Traffic Act to provide incentives for the payment of fines. Where a fine defaulter has been sent a penalty notice and then a default notice and has still not paid the outstanding fine, the Registrar of the Magistrates Court will notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The Registrar of Motor Vehicles will then put in place the following action: If the defaulter holds a driving licence that licence will be suspended. If the defaulter does not hold a driving licence but is the registered owner of a motor vehicle that registration will be cancelled. If the person owns more than one vehicle the registrar will suspend the registration of the vehicle which has the shortest period of registration to run.
If the defaulter has neither a driving licence nor a vehicle registration they will be disqualified from holding a driving licence. During the time that a person is disqualified they will be unable to obtain a driving licence or register a motor vehicle. If a defaulter is from interstate, disqualification means that an interstate driving licence no longer entitles them to drive in the ACT. The suspension, of whichever kind, will be lifted once the fine is paid, the fine is remitted, the person has served a period of imprisonment in relation to the fine, or the conviction which gave rise to the fine is quashed.
This part of the fine default package is modelled on a system that has been in place for some years to deal with people who default in paying parking and traffic infringement notice penalties. The introduction of that system resulted in greatly increased compliance in paying infringement notice penalties. I expect that the present proposals will greatly increase the rate of payment of court imposed fines.
Some people may criticise the use of these measures to enforce the payment of non-traffic fines. I would say to those people that all of us in society have rights and obligations. Society cannot operate if people exercise their rights but refuse to meet their obligations. Where there is an obligation to pay a fine and that obligation is not met, I see nothing unacceptable in depriving the person of some right as an incentive to pay the fine. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.