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New legislation to streamline SPER operations

Changes to the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 were passed by the Queensland Parliament on 10 May 2017, enabling key changes to the way SPER operates.

The amendments to the Act will provide for the implementation of Work and Development Orders (WDO), offering Queenslanders experiencing genuine hardship with alternative ways to reduce or pay off their debt. The amended Act 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 will 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 will work with government and community-based sponsors who will 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.

WDOs will be available from December 2017, initially with Queensland Corrective Services, with further options available in 2018. SPER is working with a range of key stakeholders to implement these changes.

Last reviewed:
22 January 2018




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