Questions and Responses
I'm following up on a motion Boroondara put forward to the May 17 MAV State Council meeting for an investigation into the ongoing reporting and collecting issues arising from the new fines system implemented by Fines Victoria, which was adopted at the meeting.
Boroondara says the issues have caused significant costs to the council, so I'm surveying councils around Melbourne to see how the system is affecting them.
Has the council also seen any issues with the collection and enforcement of fines since the system was introduced? If so, what are the issues?
Council has noted a significant decrease in disbursements made to Council in relation to collections undertaken by Fines Victoria on behalf of Council. We are also concerned that Fines Victoria no longer provides reports in a format that can be used to easily reconcile monies collected by them with Council’s own infringement records.
In the 16/17 Financial Year Fines Victoria collected $611k on behalf of Council. In 17/18 this reduced to $488k and this financial year we anticipate $390k will be collected.
Does the council want Fines Victoria to waive its fee (paid each time a fine is registered) until it can properly deliver this service?
It appears that Council is paying for an underperforming collection service and the fees being charged for that service should be looked at.
Since the system was introduced, how much money is the council owed in unrecovered debts from fines?
We are unable to run a specific report that covers the time period requested. However, in the last 12 months 8490 unpaid fines have been registered with Fines Victoria. The initial fine amount and penalty reminder costs equate to $1,132,821. After Fines Victoria costs are added (registration fee and an enforcement fee added by Fines Victoria) the outstanding balance is $2,235,422.
What impact has this amount in unrecovered fines had on council's budget and ability to provide services?
Council’s parking enforcement budget represents an estimate of what income may be expected from parking fines based on income received in previous years and increases to fine amounts set by the State Government each year. An increase in fine amounts paid would add to Council’s ability to improve and deliver services.
Is there anything else you'd like to add on about this issue?
Parking enforcement is a necessary and important service delivered by Council. While nobody likes receiving a fine, our experience tells us that most people take responsibility and pay their fines. It is unfair that some people don’t pay their fines and it is important that these people are made accountable. An efficient collection process is vital to ensure the integrity of the enforcement process and in our opinion and experience Fines Victoria is letting everyone down.
Issued: 30 May 2019
Quoting: Mayor, Councillor Shane McCluskey