Anglicare’s experience with financial counselling has shown that households on low incomes can be thrust into extreme financial hardship as a result of receiving a fine or infringement. Receiving a parking fine of $80 could mean a person on a low income is unable to pay rent or buy food. The same amount will be an inconvenience for someone on a high income, but not have a significant impact on their ability to stay fed or sheltered. When someone can’t afford to pay a fine, they can face significant financial and emotional hardships including loss of mobility due to suspension of driver’s licences and cancelation of car registration, seizure of personal goods, emotional distress, social exclusion, community service orders and imprisonment for fine defaulting and secondary offending (such as unlicensed driving).

Findings from the project will inform Anglicare’s advocacy to develop fair and just alternatives to the current system.