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Fare go

Fare go

By Julian Burnsite QC


The Western Community Legal Centre (WCLC) wants to reform the public transport penalties system for secondary students to allow reduced fines and instalment payment arrangements. WCLC, which launched Fare Go – Myki, Transport Poverty and Access to Education in Melbourne’s West with human rights barrister Julian Burnside QC in March, said in 2014-15 there were more than 7000 unexecuted warrants for non-payment of fines by young people. Young people are legally required to attend school up to 17 years of age. However, the families of many secondary school students cannot afford the cost of public transport to attend school. They then incur fines they cannot afford to pay either. These students end up before the Children’s Court. Data shows only 12 per cent of children respond to hearings for nonpayment of fines. The LIV supports the WCLC proposal and will make a submission in relation to the Fines Reform Amendment Bill 2016 saying the fines system entrenches further disadvantage and criminalises poverty for vulnerable Victorians. The submission will recommend a person’s fine be proportionate to their income; reduced fines for all infringements (not just public transport) for children under 18; hardship provisions for on the spot infringements; and support for instalment payments of fines by vulnerable Victorians.

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