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New push to make fines dependent on income where the more you earn the more you pay

Drivers could soon be fined tens of thousands of dollars for speeding or running a red light under a proposal linking penalties to income.

A Greens proposal, supported by the Territory government, calls for the system of flat fines to be scrapped.

Offenders would instead be charged in line with their capacity to pay so drivers with low incomes don’t have to choose between paying up or feeding their families.

Drivers in the ACT could soon be fined tens of thousands of dollars for speeding or running a red light under a proposal to link penalties to income

The proposal by Greens Treasury spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur was presented in the ACT Legislative Assembly this week. 

‘We want to change behaviour not force people into poverty,’ she said in parliament while advocating for the plan.

For someone earning $5,000 a week, a $500 fine is nothing, Ms Le Couteur said.

But for someone with a low income, the fine can be an entire week’s wage. 

Ms Le Couteur argued it was unfair and people should instead by fined on a sliding scale in line with their income.

‘Financial penalties are disproportionately affecting people already struggling to pay their bill,’ she said.

Offenders would instead be charged in line with their capacity to pay so drivers with low incomes don't have to choose between paying up or feeding their families 

Offenders would instead be charged in line with their capacity to pay so drivers with low incomes don’t have to choose between paying up or feeding their families 

Ms Le Couteur cited statistics showing more than 80 per cent of driving suspensions were due to failure to pay traffic and parking fines.

Of 85,051 parking fines issued in the ACT last year, 88 per cent were paid on time.

The government now has to come up with a proposal for how an income-based system would work, but is not obliged to actually implement it.

Finland has used an income-based fines system for decades, famously charging wealthy businessmen massive amounts for speeding.

Former Nokia director Anssi Vanjoki was fined €116,000 (AU$276,000) in 2002 for driving 75 km/h in a 50km/h zone.

In 2015, businessman Reima Kuisla was caught doing 103km/h in an 80km/h zone and fined €54,024 (AU$84,000). 

Finland has used an income-based fines system for decades, famously charging businessman Reima Kuisla €54,024 (AU$84,000) for speeding in 2015

Finland has used an income-based fines system for decades, famously charging businessman Reima Kuisla €54,024 (AU$84,000) for speeding in 2015

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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