How do we tackle the region's shocking SPER debt?

ABOUT one in every 13 people living in the Fraser Coast region owes money to the Government because of an unpaid fine.  

As of September 30, these individuals racked up a regional debt to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry just a few thousand dollars short of $20 million.   

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said there was no simple solution to tackling this monster of a problem, with outstanding fines a prominent issue not just in our region but across Queensland.   

He attributed part of the problem to financial hardship.  

In 2016, Mr Saunders rallied for the establishment of a prison farm, which he said would both ease overcrowding and ultimately benefit the community by putting prisoners to work.   

The proposed prison farm would be for petty criminals, deemed as low-risk offenders.  

The type of work they would engage in includes setting-up for community events.   

"The prison farm would keep them away from hardened criminals, to keep them from becoming hardened criminals themselves," Mr Saunders said.  

"They would be helping the community, doing work and learning new skills."  

But a negative response from the public to the prison farm concept put the idea on ice.   

The number of debtors in the Fraser Coast region dropped by 50 from August to September, meaning a minority have cleared their debt.   

As of September, there were 8005 debtors.

The $20 million debt is an accumulation from 57,699 separate fines.   

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