By Sean Parnell
Queensland’s public health response has continued to reap dividends, as staff at the State Penalties Enforcement Register deal with 3046 unpaid fines worth a total of $5.2 million.
The fines involve 2755 individuals and businesses accused of flouting the rules during the coronavirus pandemic. About 56.4 per cent of fines had been paid in full or were subject to a payment plan.
SPER was undertaking “active enforcement” on another 18.4 per cent of fines, worth about $1 million, which a spokesman said “may include garnishing bank accounts or wages, registering charges over property, or suspending driver licenses”.
The remaining 25.2 per cent of fines were either under investigation or still open to payment without further action being taken.
The figures were accurate as at the end of September.
Queensland Treasury established SPER about two decades ago and, by this month, it had $1.29 billion in debt on its books and was recovering more than $50 million each month.
Outside SPER’s work, Queensland Health took the unusual step of calling in private debt collectors to chase up $5.7 million amounting from 2045 significantly overdue invoices for hotel quarantine.
“Queenslanders rightly expect travelers will pay for their hotel quarantine stays and not leave taxpayers to foot the bill,” a Queensland Health spokeswoman said.