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Variable penalty system for vulnerable Victorians

A variable penalty system for infringements such as traffic offences, parking or public transport fines for vulnerable Victorians could be under review.

Neil Mitchell has seen a letter from the Department of Justice written to one of the drivers who will lose her licence after being booked in a 40 zone on the Western Ring Road, which suggests a review is underway.

‘The government shares your concern about the impact of penalties on disadvantaged and low income earners and is currently investigating ways to make the infringement system fairer and more responsive to the needs of vulnerable Victorians,’ the letter reads.

There’s speculation fines could be scaled, depending on a person’s income. 

The CEO Of the Victorian Council of Social Service, Emma King, said she favours a system that’s used in New South Wales.

‘We have been advocating for programs which allows people who are facing disadvantage to discharge outstanding fines and debts through things like volunteer work,’ she said.

‘What we’ve got is significant issues…people racking up thousands of dollars in debt basically because they are poor and can’t afford to pay their fines.

‘We have people sent to jail because they can’t pay their fines.’

Stef Chetuci is one of the motorists who will lose her license and says she is joining a class action.

She has questioned whether the grace period was applied to give motorists enough warning after the adjusted speed limit.

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