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Neil Mitchell slams ‘unbelievably cruel’ Fines Victoria, damning ombudsman report released

3AW News

The Victorian Ombudsman has slammed Fines Victoria for chasing debts incurred by dead people and wrongly suspending licences.

A report tabled in State Parliament today revealed the Ombudsman received 605 complaints about Fines Victoria last year, a 74 per cent increase on the number of complaints received about its predecessor, Civic Compliance Victoria, in 2017.

Complaints included one from a father who received multiple enforcement letters for fines incurred by his deceased son, and a taxi driver who was left without an income after his licence was wrongly suspended.

Neil Mitchell, who has been contacted by numerous people who have been treated unfairly by Fines Victoria, said the report is long overdue.

“The Ombudsman had vindicated entirely what our audience was telling us. We’ve been rattling the cage on this for 16 or 17 months and we’ve been getting half-hearted answers,” he told Tony Jones.

“The state opposition didn’t show any interest, the government covered its tracks. Thank heavens the Ombudsman has got into it.”

The 3AW Mornings host said Fines Victoria had been “unbelievably cruel” in chasing fines incurred by deceased people.

“It’s a scandal,” he said.

Carjacking victim Alice, who spoke to Neil Mitchell earlier this month, was one of those affected by Fines Victoria’s incompetence.

Her car was stolen in a carjacking, and she was chased by Fines Victoria for fines incurred by the car thieves.

“It’s obviously a broken system,” she told Tony Jones.

“It was horrible. I was having nightmares about it.”

Fines Victoria didn’t stop chasing her until she contacted Neil Mitchell and made the story public.

“They need to be more accountable,” she said.

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass told 3AW’s Nick McCallum that IT problems were the cause of most complaints.

“The main reason is they started without full IT functionality,” she said.

“We need to see improvements. We know the system isn’t going to be fully functional still for some months. I’m sure there will be further complaints,

“I’m keeping it under very close review.”

Press PLAY below to hear what Neil Mitchell and carjacking victim Alice had to say to Tony Jones on 3AW Mornings.

Press PLAY below to hear what Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass told 3AW’s Nick McCallum.

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