Debts owed: we're in deep

NEARLY one in 10 of the region's residents owe money in unpaid fines.

And with the collective debt hitting a staggering $17.3 million, Rockhampton is second only to Townsville in the amount owed to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

The total comprises the fines meted out to offenders in Rockhampton, Gracemere and the Capricorn Coast which are still owed to the registry.

Nearly 10,000 offenders in the region have unpaid fines.

The figures have been issued by the agency, which is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid infringement notices, court ordered monetary fines and offender recovery orders issued in Queensland.

State Member for Mirani Ted Malone said the amount indicated how increases in the cost of living had impacted on disposable income.

"It's symptomatic of the health of the community," he said.

"Most people would pay their SPER debts if they could afford it."

The figures are current as of December 17 and are based on where offenders live, not which court issued the fines.

A Justice and Attorney-General department spokesman said in November that SPER was on track for another big year, chasing down outstanding debts in 2012.

Townsville is by far the worst for defaulting on fines.

Offenders in 10 Townsville postcodes owe more than $28 million.

Queenslanders owe more than $546 million.

 

Regional figures

  • Rockhampton - $17,321,630 - Current population as at 30 June 2010: 115,526
  • Mackay - $9,265,452 - estimated resident population at 30 June 2010 was 118,842
  • Gladstone - $5,706, 661- Current population as at 30 June 2010: 60,316
  • Bundaberg - $7,808,539 - 100,000 according to council website
  • Townsville - $28,293,099 - estimated population 191,000 at June 29, 2011
  • Toowoomba - $10,591,682 - population of the region in 2009 was 159,098
  • Cairns - $16,076,136 - estimated residential population at 30 June 2009 was 164,356

Population figures sourced from relevant council websites.



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