Low-income Canberrans caught littering or evading fares will be able to pay off their fines in instalments or by completing community work, under new laws passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
But the Greens-inspired "fair fine" system won't come into effect for another two years, after the government said it needed extra time to prepare for the new regime.
The opposition backed the laws but blasted the drafting of the legislation, warning that whoever won October's election would have to "fix this mess" down the track.
Greens crossbencher Caroline Le Couteur secured support from the major parties late on Wednesday afternoon to create alternative "payment" options for people fined for a range of infringements.
Canberrans can already apply to enter payment plans and complete community work in lieu of paying traffic and parking fines, under laws championed by former Greens parliamentarian Amanda Bresnan.
Ms Le Couteur's bill makes those options available for infringements such as littering and fare-evasion.
People experiencing financial hardship could also apply to have a fine waived.
Ms Le Couteur said the existing system disproportionately affected low-income Canberrans, who might have to cough up weeks worth of income to pay off a single fine.
A fine can be the final straw for some families and individuals.ACT Council of Social Service chief executive Emma Campbell
The government last year introduced far harsher penalties for littering, with fines for dropping a cigarette butt or syringe in public jacked up to $500.
"If you're on Newstart, quite a lot of our fines could equal two weeks' income for you," Ms Le Couteur said.
Labor supported the bill after Ms Le Couteur agreed to have its implementation delayed for two years.
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said that as fines captured by the laws were enforced by different agencies - such as Access Canberra and Transport Canberra - the government would need to consider establishing a single portal for all ACT infringements. That would require time and resources, he said.
Mr Ramsay said Labor voted for the laws as it was "committed to supporting low-income Canberrans".
The Liberals also backed the bill, but not before shadow attorney-general Jeremy Hanson lashed the "poorly constructed legislation".
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Mr Hanson said delaying the implementation of laws for two years was almost unheard of, and was proof the Greens hadn't properly considered the "unintended consequences" of the scheme before bringing it to the Legislative Assembly.
"I think it's quite likely that whoever wins government in October is going to have to come back .... and fix this mess up," he said.
ACT Council of Social Service chief executive Emma Campbell supported more flexible payment options for people facing fines.
"A fine can be the final straw for some families and individuals, creating a financial situation that spirals into a crisis or even puts them at risk of contact with the criminal justice system," Dr Campbell said.
Dr Campbell said now was the opportune time for the Assembly to reconsider the merits of an income-based fine system.