Laws that will crack down on hardcore fine defaulters in a bid to recoup nearly $250 million in unpaid penalties have passed State Parliament this afternoon.
The package, which is expected to come into effect by the middle of next year, includes “naming and shaming” thousands of serious fine defaulters on a Government website.
People who repeatedly ignore their unpaid fines and infringements will also face having their cars wheel-clamped and stripped of their number plates.
The penalties will apply when people owe more than $2000 in infringements, which can include on-the-spot fines for traffic offences, parking breaches and public transport fare evasion.
The powers will also be triggered when a person accrues substantial unpaid court fines.
“These people have disregarded the many warning notices issued by both the prosecuting authority and the Fines Enforcement Registry over a significant period of time and neglected to go on time-top-pay arrangements, even though they have faced licence suspension,” Attorney-General Michael Mischin said.
“It is unfair that honest and hard working taxpayers have to foot the bill for this small and arrogant group of serial defaulters, who refuse to pay off outstanding fines or infringements.”
Mr Mischin said the tougher measures would not be used against one-off transgressors and people would be able to continue to make time-to-pay arrangements.
He said if serial offenders owned vehicles, they could have their wheels clamped for up to 48 hours or their licence plates removed for 28 days. In the worst cases, licence plate removal could be permanent, which would alert police to long-term defaulters who continued to drive while under licence suspension for non-payment.
At the end of last week, West Australians owed $248.5 million in nearly 720,000 unpaid fines and infringements. There were 8,278 West Australians with more than $2000 in unpaid infringements.