6.1 The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry ask the ALRC to have regard to laws that may contribute to the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offending, including ‘driving offences and unpaid fines’—the statutory enforcement regimes of which affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples unduly and can result in incarceration.
6.2 In this chapter, the ALRC outlines issues related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and fines. It includes an examination of the use of imprisonment to discharge fine debts, which the ALRC proposes should be abolished. Even without a direct link to imprisonment, fine default and entry into the fine enforcement system can have detrimental consequences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples leading to criminal justice responses.
6.3 The ALRC asks what preventative measures should be adopted to minimise the likelihood of receiving fines and infringement notices, and to minimise the impact on the person when received. It proposes placing limits on the issuing of infringement notices; expanding court imposed penalty options; and introducing the NSW Work and Development Order (WDO) scheme across states and territories.
6.4 A person with unpaid fines may have their driver licence suspended and may ultimately be imprisoned for driving while disqualified. These elements of enforcement regimes have a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the ALRC asks what steps can be taken to minimise or prevent loss of driver licences for fine default. In addition, ways to improve access to driver licences are also canvassed.