Major parts of WA Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement legislation commence

Wednesday 21 August 2013 @ 3.18 p.m. | Legal Research

Various key provisions of the Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Amendment Act 2012 (WA No 48 of 2012) have been proclaimed to commence on 21 August 2013 (see Gazette 151, 20 August 2013, p 3815). Amongst the commenced provisions are included Part 3 which commences changes to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 and Part 4 which commences consequential amendments to a number of Western Australian Acts. The Act is now almost fully operational and in addition a large number of subordinate pieces of legislation have also been made to follow on from the commencement of the Act - see also Gazette 151, 20 August 2013.

Background

On its introduction into parliament the amendment Act was said by the government to "represent a significant shift in approach to fines and infringement enforcement". In particular the introduction of  notices of enforcement and enforcement warrants by the legislation was intended to signal "a move to  more  active  enforcement against a small group of people  who continually ignore notices and requests to pay issued over a substantial period of time". The legislation was said to achieve this through enhanced enforcement measures that would "move the enforcement process, especially for infringements, from an essentially passive one of licence suspension to an active one in which Sheriff’s officers [would] target persons with considerable outstanding fines and infringements who have made no effort to enter into any form of time-to-pay arrangements". 

The new powers given to authorities are made subject discretion and on only for use on persons with outstanding fines and  infringements. The new powers can be applied in both public places and in privately owned properties, day or night. 

The intent of the new laws as described by the government is that: Sheriff’s officers will work alongside police on random breath test road stops to actively reduce the number of people who continue to drive whilst their licence has been suspended for non-payment of a fine or infringement". 

Aims and objectives

In parliament when the legislation was introduced it was stated that:

"The number of fines and infringements registered with the Fines Enforcement Registry ha[d] grown by an average rate of nine percent  per annum  since  2006–2007 — that is almost a 50 percent increase in registrations.  With  improved technology available to the police . . . the number of registrations to the Fines Enforcement Registry will  continue to increase unless we take determined steps to provide for a more efficient and effective enforcement process".

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products.

Sources:

Based on the Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Amendment Act 2012 (WA No 48 of 2012) and associated legislation as reported in the TimeBase LawOne Service.

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