The Greens NSW have been instrumental into securing amendments to the Government’s fines amendments bill which for the first time recognise that fines aren’t fair unless they are adjusted to the income of the person being fined.
The amendment specifies that a fine payment can be reduced by 50% if the person is in receipt of a welfare payment and the Commissioner determines this reduction is appropriate.
Greens MP David Shoebridge and Justice Spokesperson said:
“The amendment we supported to this bill is a critical step towards making the fines system fairer.
“It makes no sense for someone on Newstart to receive the same fine quantum as a politician or a millionaire.
“If fines are to play a deterrant function they need to do so fairly, ensuring their impact is not disproportionately felt by vulnerable people.
“The amendment today will allow people on welfare payments and other people on low incomes to seek a reduction of 50% in the amount required to pay.
“Going forward it also should be asked if penalties should at times be increased where the person’s income is of a size that makes the current fines leveraged essentially meaningless to them.
“We should consider following the example of Finland and other countries that impose “day fines” where the amount a person is fined is based on the offender’s daily income,” Mr Shoebridge said.