Queensland's worst fine dodgers revealed
The value of unpaid speeding fines in Queensland has climbed by 10 per cent in just one year, with lead-foot drivers now owing the state's debt collection agency a massive quarter of a billion dollars.
Almost one in every $5 on the State Penalties Enforcement Registry's books is owed by a speeding motorist.
As of December 31, there were $253.8m worth of speeding fines held by SPER - up 10 per cent from the same time in 2019 when it was $230.6m. The total volume of unpaid fine was up about 6.7 per cent over the course of the year to 843,010 infringements - the equivalent of about one unpaid fine for every five driver licences in Queensland.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey insisted that motorists would still need to pay the fine even if it was referred to SPER.
"And demerit points are still applied to your licence," he said.
"The Treasurer has also announced a Debt Recovery and Compliance program to increase proactive debt management to recover money from those who owe it to the people of Queensland.
"If you don't want to be fined or risk losing your licence, don't speed."
The 2019-20 Budget foreshadowed an increase in revenue from fines and forfeitures due to increases in "enforcement hours" and the deployment of more cameras on the roads in coming years.
There were also $172.5m in tolling fees and fines that remained unpaid as of December 31, while the amount of unpaid fines for parking offences was $61.9m - down from $63.3m the previous year.
There were about $16m in unpaid fines for failing to vote in elections, $45.1m in unpaid fines for fare evasion and another $119.5m in unpaid fines and debts for vehicles offences.
Bail offences were also in the top 15 offences for unpaid fines, with about $23.5m in unpaid infringements.
Queensland Treasury has revealed SPER collected about $240m in payments during 2020 amid the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"SPER debts don't just go away and the consequences can be serious, so it is important that people deal with their debt," a spokesman said.
SPER debt pool by offences as of December 31, 2020 (top 15)
1. Speeding: 843,010 debts worth $253.8m
2. Tolling: 870,966 debts worth $172.5m
3. Driving: 525,396 debts worth $169.9m
4. Other: 280,969 debts worth $133.5m
5. Vehicle: 352,067 debts worth $119.5m
6. Offender debt recovery: 7,405 debts worth $90.5m
7. Public order offences: 227,077 debts worth $66.4m
8. Parking: 464,865 debts worth $61.9m
9. Stealing: 120,061 debts worth $48m
10. Fraud: 29,442 debts worth $46.8m
11. Fare evasion: 172,901 debts worth $45.1m
12. Drug: 130,611 debts worth $40.6m
13. Bail offences: 67,436 debts worth $23.5m
14. Fail to vote: 94,776 debts worth $16m
15. Animal: 44,920 debts worth $15.6m
Originally published as Speedsters owe SPER quarter of a billion dollars