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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Centrelink Option for Fine Defaulters

A pilot program will help Queenslanders with debts registered through the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) pay fines and court penalties by having amounts deducted directly from social security payments.

The unique scheme was announced today by Queensland Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Rod Welford, and Federal Minister for Community Services, Larry Anthony.

It will be run jointly by the Commonwealth agency, Centrelink, and the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and target people with SPER registered debts such as defaulted court matters and traffic and parking fines.

Federal Minister for Community Services Larry Anthony said the six month pilot would allow people to pay fines by instalment through Centrelink’s Centrepay facility.

“Many people who receive Federal Government payments and incur fines or court imposed penalties have difficulty paying, eventually leading to warrants being issued for their arrest,” Mr Anthony said.

“The Centrepay trial provides these outstanding debtors with another option for paying fines by having instalments deducted directly from their Centrelink payment.”

Queensland Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Rod Welford said the scheme will target up to 1000 people with outstanding fines in the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Beaudesert, Inala, Goodna, Woodridge, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Roma, Charleville and Goondiwindi regions.

“The scheme is voluntary and is being run as part of the Government’s new State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) which takes a pro-active approach to helping people pay outstanding fines,” said Mr Welford.

“By extending this facility to the payment of fines and court debts, it may help minimise the risk of fine defaulting, in order to keep people out of the prison system.”

Mr Welford said people wishing to use the Centrepay option should contact the SPER Call Centre on 1300 365 635.