Lucas acknowledges 'fine' collection

THE State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) has had another massive year of debt recovery in 2010-11.

Despite a three-month amnesty on compliance and enforcement activities as a result of the floods and Cyclone Yasi, SPER almost broke its 2009-10 record collection.

Deputy Premier Paul Lucas today welcomed the "incredible" $158.3 million worth of outstanding debts recovered by SPER in 2010-11.

"The Queensland Government makes no apologies for its tough stance in forcing fine defaulters to repay their debts to society," Mr Lucas said.

"At the same we understood Queenslanders were doing it tough earlier this year and deferred compliance and enforcement activities from January until the end of March while people were getting their lives back on track.

"SPER's three month amnesty period following the natural disasters was an extraordinary measure to deal with extraordinary circumstances.

"During that time it was important to take whatever steps necessary to help Queenslanders affected by the disasters recover," he said.

"While some Queenslanders - to their credit - chose to continue paying off their debts while the amnesty was in place, it is quite frankly incredible under the circumstances that SPER has recovered this amount of money.

"The record $166.5 million collection in 2009-10 was very nearly topped."

Mr Lucas said the result capped of a big year for SPER, which had proved its effectiveness by surpassing $1 billion in total fine collections since its establishment in 2000.

"Last year's collection coupled with the achievement of this overall collections milestone is a great result for SPER and Queensland, because this money is invested back into the community," he said.

"SPER is getting the message through to fine-dodgers - if you break the law you are expected to pay off your debt."

Mr Lucas said SPER had collected on average, about $100 million each year since its inception.

"That's $1 billion which without SPER would have otherwise gone uncollected."

Mr Lucas said tough measures introduced by the State Government in 2009 to deal with fine dodgers were paying off.

"These laws allow SPER to suspend driver licences for any fine - not just motor-vehicle-related fines - and target chronic high-value fine dodgers by clamping wheels, and seizing and selling their property," he said.

"SPER does not enter into these actions lightly and is only done after a debtor has continued to ignore requests from SPER.

"Such action can be easily avoided by simply paying up or entering into a payment plan."

Anyone with unpaid fines should contact SPER on 1300 365 635 to arrange payment or payment options. 

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