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Fines revenue in freefall

ABC Tasmania, April 18. Watch the news story here.


NEW  figures from the Tasmanian Government’s debt collector reveal a significant decline in the amount it is collecting.

The $5 million fall will affect the state budget’s bottom line, forcing the Government to revise its outlook.

The revenue drop was predicted by unions two years ago, when the State Government announced it was shedding the equivalent of 1,700 public service jobs to counter a forecast $1 billion loss in tax revenues.

Now, figures released by the Monetary Penalties Enforcement Service which collects outstanding fines, show monthly collections have plummeted since the cutbacks.

In March 2011, the service collected $1.9 million, in the same month last year the total was $1.6 million and last month it dropped to $1.1 million.

Tom Lynch from the Community and Public Sector Union says state budget cuts mean there are fewer people enforcing the law.

“I’m sure there’s a few people that’d be pleased that fines have fallen but people are still breaking the law in the same way, they’re not getting caught for it and we’re not getting the revenue from that,” he said.

“They’re robbing Peter to pay Paul and it’s not working for Tasmania.”

Police are the biggest revenue raisers and they have issued almost 20,000 fewer traffic infringement notices so far this year compared with the same period in 2012, and there has been a significant fall in the number of hours manning speed cameras.

Two years ago the government debt collector was recovering more than $1 million a month in police fines, since then it has fallen to less than $500,000.

Pat Allen from the Police Association is not surprised.

“There’s not the people there were out there before doing the job that there was before,  so the Government is in this position because they decided to cut the police,” Mr Allen said.

The Government has revised its budget outlook because of falling fines and fees revenue.

The Police Minister, David O’Byrne,  puts it down to a decrease in people breaking the law.

Original article here.

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