eftposThe NT government, facing nearly $50 million in unpaid fines and recalcitrant defaulters, is about to take the extraordinary step of naming and shaming people online.

NT to name/shame people online

By Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia

The NT government is about to introduce a ‘name and shame’ website listing – for all the word to see – people who don’t pay fines.

The move is a part of a “suite” of fines recovery measures promised by NT Attorney-General John Elferink, alarmed at nearly $50 million in unpaid fines clogging up the debit side of the territory’s budget.

The AG disclosed plans to “out” people online as he revealed a second territory person had been jailed for refusing to pay more than $16,000 worth of unpaid fines. The refusal to pay came “despite the man being provided with opportunities to enter into a payment management plan and perform community work,” Mr Elferink said.

Since the AG announced a crackdown on unpaid fines in May 2014, four Territorians have been issued with a warrant of commitment, which provides the option to either pay the debt in full or serve jail time.

“A person issued a warrant of commitment has already, on multiple occasions, refused to enter into a reasonable payment management plan and refused to turn up to a community work order,” Mr Elferink said. “The government announced it would take a tough approach to people who disobey the law and disregard their fines and we are now following through on this.”

Thirteen people have newly received CWOs, and directed to work off their debt.

Last financial year, there was more than $49 million in unpaid fines, he said. “This figure continues to blow out year after year because people disregard their obligation to pay, despite many being more than capable to do so. It is simple: people who do the right thing will have nothing to worry about, however those who commit an offence and refuse to pay will face penalties,” Mr Elferink said.

“As part of the suite of fines recovery measures, a ‘name and shame’ website will be introduced to identify the NT’s top fine defaulters,” he said.

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