Friday, 9 June 2023
Labor’s heavy-handed COVID fines have turned out to be a shambles, with barely one in ten fines paid in full.
It’s time for outstanding COVID fines to be reviewed and, where appropriate, withdrawn.
Under questioning before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee today, Labor’s Attorney-General confirmed that while 50,150 fines had been issued for breaching COVID-19 directions, only around 5,500 had been paid in full.
Of the $100 million worth of fines issued, only around $15 million has been recovered to date.
The Attorney-General also admitted that 11,800 COVID fines have been withdrawn while 4,400 fines have been challenged in court.
Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien said that the vast majority of these fines should not have been issued in the first place.
“The Andrews Labor Government used Victoria Police as the enforcement arm of its heavy handed COVID policies; policies that often made no sense and damaged many lives,” Mr O’Brien said.
“That barely one in ten fines have been paid in full says that many people do not accept the Andrews Government’s unjust fines or unjust policies.
“Threatening senior Victorians for daring to rest on a park bench rather than ‘exercise’ is just one example of the overbearing behaviour that many Victorians rightly rejected.
“All outstanding COVID fines should immediately be reviewed and withdrawn unless for egregious behaviour that genuinely put lives at risk. This especially applies to Victorian children who have had 152 COVID fines directly referred to the Children’s Court.
“Labor says it wants to keep children out of the criminal justice system. It should start by withdrawing all COVID fines issued to children who had their lives turned upside down by the Andrews Government’s COVID lockdowns”.