Victoria Police Have Handed Out $27.8 Million Worth Of Covid Fines
Victoria Police have revealed the number of infringements handed out since the coronavirus pandemic began.
There have been several rules introduced since the state started locking down to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
One meant that a $200 fine was handed out to anyone caught outside without a face mask.
Since the pandemic began, there have been more than 19,000 fines dished out, which equates to roughly $27.8 million.
A government spokesperson has told The Age: "Those who don't follow the directives pose a risk to the broader community - and police will respond accordingly.
"Only a small proportion of COVID-19 fines have not been paid before time to pay has expired and for many recently-issued fines, there is still time for people to pay their fine."
What is arguably more shocking than that number is the number of people who haven't fully paid the fine.
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Authorities say only 845 people have coughed up the cash out of 19,324. Official data says 1,424 Covid-19 fines that were handed out up until August 24 have been withdrawn or cancelled. That means there are a lot of unpaid fines left to come in.
Nearly one fifth of the fines have reached the 'notice of final demand' stage, according to The Age, and another 3,455 fines infringements have been registered with Fines Victoria, who will follow up on rule breakers for the cash.
There are 1,638 people who have signed up to a payment plan to allow them to chip away at the fine rather than go all at once.
These numbers are all before the state government ramped up the cost of the on-the-spot fine for an unlawful gathering from $1,652 to $4,957.
There are concerns from civil liberties groups that the fines will be hurting Victorians when they are already hurting so much.
Liberty Victoria vice-president Julia Kretzenbacher released a statement, saying: "The fines are quite high and people are struggling financially and it's therefore no surprise that people are struggling to pay them.
"The response should be a public health response and not a policing response, and in particular we're concerned about reports that fines have been issued disproportionately to more vulnerable people, including young people."
There are concerns the threat of a fine will stop people from being tested for coronavirus and potentially lie when they go through contact tracing.
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