The State Debt Recovery (SDR) website and all online services will be unavailable between 7.00am on Saturday, 11 March and 7.00pm on Sunday, 12 March due to scheduled maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Email a link to this pagePrint this pageReduce font sizeIncrease font size

17/10/2013: Changes to the Fines Act 1996

The NSW Parliament has passed various amendments to the Fines Act that changes the way Fines are enforced in NSW.

The amendments will come into effect on 1 December 2013.

Abolition of the SDRO and creation of the Commissioner of Fines Administration

The current statutory body known as the State Debt Recovery Office will cease to exist, and be replaced by the appointment of a Commissioner of Fines Administration.

The Commissioner of Fines Administration will have the responsibility to manage the functions and requirements contained within the Fines Act 1996.

The new provisions will enable the Commissioner to use the name 'State Debt Recovery' in the exercise of functions under the Fines Act 1996 and other purposes. It will be an offence for any other individual to take proceedings under that name, or to carry on any other activity under that name, unless authorised to do so.

Interstate enforcement

Fines issued by interstate bodies will be able to be enforced under NSW legislation, and fines issued in NSW are authorised to be enforced in another state providing that state has legislation allowing this to happen.

The new provisions do not affect already existing provisions in the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992, which allows interstate enforcement of court fines, or the existing provisions in the Fines Act 1996 which allow for reciprocal arrangements to be entered into for the enforcement.

Where an interstate fine is enforced in NSW the new provisions will allow for any type of enforcement action except for imprisonment.

Withdrawal of visitor driving privileges

A visitor driver privilege is any exemption under road transport legislation that allows a visiting driver (such as a resident of another State) to drive a motor vehicle in New South Wales, even though the visiting driver does not hold a New South Wales driver licence.

It will now be possible for these privileges to be suspended by Roads and Maritime Services where the visiting driver has two or more unpaid fines relating to traffic or parking offences.

Trial of Victim Restitution Debt

At present, a restitution order (an order for the payment of restitution by an offender) is enforceable as if it were an order made in civil proceedings for the payment of a debt to the Commissioner of Victims Rights.

Under the trial, the amount payable under the order will be enforceable under the Act as if it were a fine imposed by a court.

The practical effect of this is that all sanctions available to recover fines debts, including licence/vehicle restriction, will be available to recover restitution debts.

The trial period will run for 12 months. It will apply only to restitution orders confirmed before or during the trial period that the Commissioner of Victims Rights and the Commissioner of Fines Administration agree should be enforced under the trial.

'Combined' payment Orders

In NSW, there are currently around 170,000 individuals paying off fines under what is known as a time to pay order. Around one third of these are through the existing Centrepay facility where people volunteer to have fine repayments deducted from the Centrelink benefits.

The amendments will allow an individual who already has a time to pay arrangement to add additional fines without needing to wait for the due date for the fine or penalty notice.

Re-allocation of over-payments

This will allow overpayments made by a person under a fine enforcement order to be allocated towards other fine if other fines remain unpaid.

However, the Commissioner is required to refund an inadvertent overpayment if the person who made the overpayment applies for a refund.

Last updated: 16 May 2016