Your client can apply to the enforcement agency for either an extension to pay the fine or a payment plan pursuant to s 46 of the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic) (IA). If your client instructs that they want, and are able, to pay the fine within an extended period of time or enter into a payment plan, we recommend that your client apply to the agency as soon as possible to avoid additional enforcement costs being added to the fine.
Who is eligible to apply for an extension or payment plan?
An enforcement agency must make a payment plan available to a person who applies and meets the eligibility criteria set out in the Attorney-General’s Guidelines to the Infringements Act. These guidelines provide that a person is automatically eligible for an extension or payment plan if they hold any of the following
a Centrelink Health Care Card;
a Pensioner Concession Card; or
a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Concession Card or Gold Card.
The Attorney-General’s Guidelines provide that agencies should, when exercising their discretion, take into account unavoidable financial hardship that results in a person being unable to pay the fine in full in the payment period.
The enforcement agency also has discretion to offer a payment plan to any other person, including on the basis of hardship. Hardship can include, but is not limited to, circumstances where an individual suffers a sudden change in their circumstances such as loss of employment, a large unexpected expense on an essential item, sudden or long term illness or family violence.
How to apply for an extension of time/payment plan
If your client wants to apply for an extension of time or payment plan, you should first check to see if Fines Victoria (Fines Online) administers the fines.
Some of the fines Fines Victoria manage include:
speeding and red light fines
unregistered vehicle fines
marine safety fines
gambling and liquor related fines.
If it does, your client can make an application for a payment plan online or download the application form from Fines Victoria.
With fines that are not administered by Fines Victoria (including fines issued by a local council and public transport fines), you will have to contact the relevant enforcement agency to organise a payment plan.
An application for a payment plan should specify when the person will be able to pay the first instalment (or the entire amount in the case of an extension of time to pay), and should include a request for written confirmation of whether or not the application has been accepted.
Fines Online and/or the enforcement agency will make a decision based on the information that is provided to them. Your client’s application should include any available evidence of his or her hardship.
If your client receives a Centrelink benefit, he or she may be able to pay the instalments via automatic Centrelink deductions by filling out the relevant form on the Centrelink website.
Consolidating payment plans
Where your client has different payment plans for fines at different stages, they may wish to consolidate the payment of multiple fines and associated costs under a single payment arrangement.
Infringements issued by multiple agencies that are at notice or penalty reminder stage may be combined under a single payment plan if the fines are administered by Fines Online. The types of infringements handled by Fines Online are listed here.
What if your client misses a payment?
A payment plan commences when a person makes the first payment by its due date in accordance with the proposed payment plan.
A person defaults on a payment plan if they fail to make a payment within 14 days after it is due. If the enforcement agency does not receive the payment within 14 days after it is due, it must send a written notice to the person advising that they are in default and that they must pay within 14 days. If payment is not received, the payment plan is cancelled and further enforcement action can be taken against the person (see s 52 IA).
What guidelines apply to payment plans?
Fines Victoria has guidelines about payment plans. You can access these guidelines below (note this is password protected).