Legality of NSW traffic and parking fines to be tested in court

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The legality of speeding and parking fines in New South Wales, Australia is set to be tested in court this week. A lawyer from Sydney will challenge the authority of the state's infringement processing bureau to issue fines for speeding and parking offences.

The lawyer claims that when the NSW government moved control of the bureau from the NSW Police to the Office of State Revenue in October 2001, the government failed to make correct legislative changes. He claims that all fines issued since the move are invalid.

The basis of the case revolve around whether or not the infringement processing bureau has powers to issue penalty notices (fines) under NSW law.

The bureau said that the case would only be relevant to fines which are disputed by a person in court. The bureau said that only five per cent of fines are challenged.

"People who did not elect to go to court and have paid their infringement notice will not be affected by any decision, so the issue of refunds does not arise," a statement by the Office of State Revenue said.

For the 2004/2005 financial year, the infringement processing bureau recorded revenues of AUD$158.7 million from fines.

NSW Opposition leader Peter Debnam said the government has once again failed to write legislation correctly. "The bottom line with this thing is that the Government simply hasn't done its homework. We see this time and time again, legislation going through parliament, and it ends up costing tax payers a fortune," he said.

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