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Proposed legislation to streamline SPER operations

Proposed changes to the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 have been introduced into the Queensland Parliament, which detail key changes to the way SPER operates.

The State Penalties Enforcement Amendment Bill 2017 features Work and Development Orders (WDO), offering Queenslanders experiencing genuine hardship with alternative ways to reduce or pay off their debt. The Bill also simplifies fee arrangements and provides amendments that facilitate a case management approach to people with SPER debts.

This ‘case management’ focus is designed to enable more effective collections by SPER, while balancing fairness with effectiveness, by considering a person’s entire debt history and circumstances, rather than just focusing on individual debts.

The improvements to SPER’s fee structure will simplify and streamline the way SPER applies fees, making it easier for people to understand what they need to pay and when fees will be applied if SPER is required to take enforcement action.

The WDO program would be open to people unable to pay their debt who are experiencing domestic or family violence, homelessness or financial hardship, or those with a mental illness, intellectual or cognitive disability or serious substance use disorder.

Under the program, SPER would work with government and community-based sponsors who would then manage the activities undertaken by the person. Registered sponsor organisations will be able to recommend and supervise the activities of program participants, including unpaid community work, undertaking financial or other counselling, completing educational, vocational or life skills courses, among other options.

Queenslanders in hardship who are eligible for a WDO will be able to access the program in the second half of 2017 initially with Queensland Corrective Services, with further options available in 2018.

Last reviewed:
23 March 2017




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