$8.8 fines shortfall ‘in hand’

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong Council has clarified that it is expecting to collect much of its $8.8 million in uncollected fines in the wake of State agency Fines Victoria’s IT debacle.

But the council still expects to write off a greater amount of “bad debts” than usual, city planning director Jody Bosman told a council meeting on 28 October.

Mr Bosman confirmed there was an uncollected “$8.8 million on the books” but it was being collected from Fines Victoria at a “same steady rate” every fortnight.

He said the council usually wrote off bad debts, but might be left without an extra “couple of hundred thousand” dollars.

“It’s certainly not going to a write-off in the millions… not anywhere near the scary million dollar mark that other councils are suffering.

“The system seems to be operating still fairly well for us. I think there’s other councils like City of Melbourne that are more hard hit.

“We have not yet noticed it yet.

The fines mainly consist of parking infringements, as well as planning and building breaches and local law penalties for littering and animal control breaches.

They date back to 30 June 2019.

Fines Victoria has blamed software issues, which has led to a multi-million-dollar backlog of fine notices that haven’t been sent to the would-be recipients.

Other councils such as Hobsons Bay and Port Phillip are threatening legal action for the financial blackhole.

The State Government itself is facing a $328 million shortfall in uncollected fines, such as court-issued penalties, from 2018-19.

It had already ordered a review into Fines Victoria after a damning Victorian Ombudsman’s report in March.

A Department of Justice spokesperson told ABC News that reminder notices hadn’t been issued to Victorians “due to some complexity of merging data from the courts into the fines system”.