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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1050 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

This also raises a flow-on question of what happens to third-party insurance and the like if a vehicle is off the road and cannot be used. Does the driver or owner have any recourse for a refund of third-party insurance premiums? I would say that by this prescription, which says they do not get any refund of their registration fee, they would automatically not get any refund of their third-party insurance premium either. We can be talking about very significant sums which may even exceed the amount of the fine. Can the Minister have a look at that, to see whether it is perhaps not an unnecessarily punitive provision in the Act?

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (12.30): I seek leave to respond to those comments.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I will look into what Mr Kaine has said. I should just correct something that he said. He suggested that it might be a penalty imposed by the court. The court would not impose such a penalty. The penalty is imposed administratively only when a person fails to pay a fine which the court has already imposed. So when a person has had a fine imposed in the court they have notice that they have to pay that fine and that potentially they will lose their drivers licence if they do not pay it. After a period of time they effectively get a second notice making that clear. If they again refuse or fail to pay at that point the shutter comes down and they lose their right to drive their car.

It is quite possible, as Mr Kaine suggested, that there could be a large amount of money which a person loses in those circumstances. I do not think it applies to third-party insurance, but I will check that. It certainly would apply to drivers licence fees and to car registration fees. I emphasise again that these people are in default to the community. The cost of enforcement can be quite high in some circumstances and it may be appropriate that they do forfeit that money if they have not met their obligations.

If people were not to forfeit the money and were to have some refund put in place, it could be extremely complex administratively. What happens when you have half a year left, for example, and you default on your payment, get your licence suspended, lose half a year and then, three months later, pay the fine and get your licence restored? Do you then get three months' credit? It could be extremely complex to administer that. I am not sure it is worth the trouble, given that the person has been repeatedly notified that they are in default to the community and should be meeting that fine but have not done so. Mr Speaker, those are my views at first blush. Maybe Mr Kaine's concerns can be accommodated reasonably easily. If that is the case, we will try to do that. I will take advice on what Mr Kaine has suggested.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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