The Fraser Coast owes more than $17.9 million in fines, including fines given for driving offences such as speeding.
The Fraser Coast owes more than $17.9 million in fines, including fines given for driving offences such as speeding. Valerie Horton

Coast racks up $5737 a day in fines

BY THE time you have finished reading this article another $8 will be added to the Fraser Coast region's debt to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

The region's deep debt to SPER is growing almost out of control with about $5,737 a day added to the debt.

SPER debt at the end of 2015 hit a whopping $17.9 million on the Fraser Coast, adding about $700,000 in just four months.

The debt has been accrued by just 8572 people - most living in the Hervey Bay and Maryborough areas.

In the 4650 postcode, which predominantly covers Maryborough, 3,011 people have racked up debts totalling more than $7.9 million.

This compares with 4,970 people who have accrued fines totally $8.9 million in the Hervey Bay postcode of 4655.

Across the state, fines totalling $1.069 billion are still yet to be paid.

Of this, $934 million is owed by Queensland-based individuals and companies.

On the Fraser Coast, fines are almost daily referred to SPER when people are sentenced in the Hervey Bay in Maryborough Magistrates Courts.

Notably, last year, Joanne Lee Marie Capewell was jailed for fraud in September after Magistrate John Smith determined she would not be able to pay a fine.

She already had a SPER debt of $7,400 which the court heard had not been paid since 2008.

Another man was jailed for marijuana possession after it was revealed in court he had a SPER debt of more than $21,000.

But Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the collections of SPER debt had been improving.

"Efforts from SPER's continuous improvement program have seen monthly collections increase by more than 10 per cent since the beginning of the 2015-2016 financial year," he said.

Mr Pitt said the government was working to make it easier for people who wanted to pay their fine and harder for repeat defaulters to get away with non-payment.

"A key focus of the plan is to install a new, contemporary debt management system to enable case management capability and advanced customer analytics, business intelligence and workflow management," he said.

"SPER is working with issuing authorities to encourage finalisation of fines before they are referred to SPER.

The debt collecting agency can take a number of steps to recover unpaid fines including suspending a driver's licence, immobilising their vehicle and seizure and sale of property.

Debt owed by postcode

4581: $155,000

4620: $37,000

4650: $7.9 million

4655: $8.9 million

4659: $670,000

4662: $147,000



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