Fine pay-off for disadvantaged

DISADVANTAGED offenders, struggling to pay court fines can now have the money gradually deducted from their Centrelink payments.

The new program means those who cannot afford to pay a court fine for offences such as drink driving, disorderly behaviour or theft can avoid further penalty by paying it off through Centrelink.

“Failure to pay court fines can result in serious consequences, such as the cancellation of a driver’s licence, personal property seizure or additional fees, so it is important that disadvantaged people are given manageable payment options,” NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said yesterday.

Since it was introduced in January, 160 applications for the new program have been processed in NSW courts.

Generally, offenders have just 28 days to pay a court fine but Centrelink recipients can pay an agreed amount from their welfare benefits fortnightly until the debt is cleared. The program will run in conjunction with the Work and Development Orders scheme, which allows homeless and mentally ill people to pay off court fines by doing charity work or undertaking treatment programs.



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