$ 32 million Rise in fines revenue after ACT ministers rejected advice to write to all drivers before Civic 40km / h zone fines start | The Canberra Times

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Traffic fines are expected to increase by more than $ 32 million this year with the increase driven by fines in a new 40 km / h zone in the city center, where violations “exceeded all expectations” and caused significant setbacks in society. Budget papers released this week showed that the ACT government’s revenue from traffic violations would increase “significantly” to $ 58.9 million from the preliminary result of $ 26.8 million in 2020-21. “This is expected to decrease in the forward estimation period as we expect changes in driver behavior,” the budget states. The revenue increase came after a recommendation from the ACT road authorities to write to all authorized drivers in Canberra to inform them about the new 40 km / h speed zone was rejected by ministers. Better Regulation Minister Tara Cheyne and Transport Minister Chris Steel rejected the proposal less than a week before the cameras were turned on, instead choosing to continue a public information campaign. Documents released under Freedom of Information Act showed that officials from Access Canberra, which administers fines, and Transport Canberra and City Services, which administer speed limits, warned that the public information campaign “was not considered a viable option in any case “. More than 20,000 Canberrans were caught faster through the new 40km / h zone – on parts of Northbourne Avenue, London Circuit and Barry Drive – during an amnesty period. “Although it was expected that there would be an increase in speeding offenses detected, the actual number of offenses has exceeded all expectations,” said a July 29 brief for Mrs Cheyne and Mr Steel. The card recommended writing to all Canberra drivers at a delivery cost of around $ 370,000 to inform them of the change before fines were issued. “This is the preferred option, as communication is likely to have the greatest impact with the least risk of administrative error,” the statement said. It was also noted that sending letters to all drivers would not require significant ongoing resources to deal with the backlog of expected fines. Steel, who rejected the proposed broadcast, while acknowledging that it was difficult to do so in a timely manner, said Ms Cheyne was ultimately responsible and referred the message to her. Mrs Cheyne highlighted the time it would take for letters to arrive and the cost of sending them as reasons for rejecting the proposal. The ACT government spent $ 78,065.71 on variable signage in the city and the public information campaign to change the speed limit in the city. “Each warning letter would cost more than $ 1 per letter in postage and letterhead. In order to send warning letters, Access Canberra staff would have been required to first convict each offender of retrieving data from the Rego ACT system to enable fill out the warning letters with personal information, “Cheyne said in response to a question of notice in the Legislature. “Therefore, staff costs are estimated to have been close to $ 300,000, including a significant diversion of resources.” The high-speed fine issued by the new cameras, which recorded more than 27,000 crime discoveries between July 5 and August 8, required significant efforts to deal with, government documents show. READ MORE: The extra work would be enough to create employment for six more full-time employees for six months, according to a briefing on August 10 for the head of Access Canberra, David Pryce. “The impact of the speed zone reduction in the city does not appear to have taken into account the increased workload on the team and the need for additional resources,” a briefing told Pryce. Eight public servants convicted the offenses every day in mid-July, compared to the usual two officers who were on duty every day. More than half of the calls to the ACT government’s traffic violation staff in early August were motorists who had received fines in the urban zone. A spokeswoman for the ACT government said Access Canberra had “re-prioritized its resources” since the briefing to “address increased infringement volumes through redistribution of internal resources to meet all statutory timeframes around infringement processing”. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how to continue accessing our trusted content:

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