Payment plans and community service programs have helped more than 3000 Canberrans keep their drivers licenses after receiving speeding fines, parking tickets and other road infringements.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said on Thursday the government's infringement notice management plan, introduced in May 2013, had helped vulnerable drivers maintain their mobility for work and recreation through remaining on the road.
“Prior to 24 May last year, there were very limited provisions to assist vulnerable people to manage outstanding motor vehicle infringement notices,” Mr Corbell said.
“If a motorist was unable to pay an infringement notice in full then a suspension would be imposed to a drivers licence, motor vehicle or right to drive until the infringement was paid."
The program allows individuals who are deemed eligible to pay fines via instalments or be discharged if the recipient completes community work or an additional personal development program.
People eligible for community work programs include those with mental or intellectual disability, physical disability or disease, addiction to drugs or alcohol, those suffering from domestic violence and those who are homeless or living in supported accommodation.
In extreme circumstances some fines have been waived by officials.
The infringement management program has collected more than $3.69 million in fines, with clients making $976,140 in payments.
“Feedback received from those who have entered into plans has been very positive, with many appreciative of having flexible arrangements to pay their balance," Mr Corbell said.
“The ACT government is committed to reducing red tape for the Canberra community by introducing a range of measures such as abolishing registration labels and offering registration and licence reminders via email.
“Introducing the option of payment through a plan is just another example of this commitment.”
In the 2013–14 ACT budget, the government provided $3.617 million over four years for the implementation and administration of more flexible arrangements for the payment of traffic and parking fines.
The territory collected more than $9.13 million from 100,099 parking fines in 2012-13, while Canberra's network of point-to-point and fixed speed cameras netted more than $11.48 million in fines in the 12 months to March.
Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury welcomes the success of the program, which he said was originally championed by former Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan.
“The Greens’ bill recognised that circumstances vary widely for Canberra’s road users and an inflexible system could result in harsh and unjust outcomes,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Our legislation passed with the support of community groups who work every day with some of the most vulnerable members of our community. It recognised that for some people in Canberra, having to pay a fine in a short time frame could mean sacrificing basic essentials such as food or rent."