Minister Tom Koutsantonis had further questions to answer about his driving record after evidence given to a Parliamentary Committee by the Chief Executive of the Courts Administration Authority (CAA), Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
Mr Gary Thompson, CEO of the CAA, this week told the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee that about six months after a person refuses to pay a speeding fine the CAA issues a “cessation of business” order to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. From that day onwards, the order prevents that person from registering any motor vehicle in their name until the fine is paid or a repayment agreement is entered into.
Hon R Lucas: “…how many reminder notices do you send to someone who hasn't paid up?
Mr G Thompson: “We'll issue the reminder notice and then we would issue what we call the fines enforcement suspension or cessation of business. So, we would send them a notice (we send that to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles as well) saying that they have outstanding fines and they can't register in those sorts of areas.
Hon R Lucas: “They can't register what?
Mr M Harrison: “They can't register vehicles or transact business.
Hon R Lucas: “That means when you come around for your annual registration, if you haven't paid your fine you can't register your car.
Mr G Thompson: “That's right.
Hon R Lucas: “So, if someone has had an outstanding fine for two years, they would be prevented from reregistering their car?
Mr M Harrison: “Unless they paid the fine…
Hon R Lucas: “…If someone's argument is that they haven't paid the fine because they didn't know about it or hadn't thought about it, or whatever it is, when they go to register their car your system will prevent them from reregistering the car.
Mr G Thompson: “Yes.
Hon R Lucas: “Then they drive around in an unregistered car.
Mr G Thompson: “Yes.”
(Budget and Finance Committee, 4 May 2009)
“Questions from the Committee were put to Mr Thompson about an example of a driver who was fined for speeding in May 2007 but had not paid it almost two years later,” Mr Lucas said.
Mr Koutsantonis had confirmed in recent weeks that:
• 21 May 2007: he was fined for speeding at the corner of West and South Terraces and by April 2009 there was a fine of $410 overdue;
• He paid this fine and another overdue fine on 20 April 2009;
• He had three cars and “all the cars are registered in my name” (Advertiser, 20 April 2009).
“If the evidence given this week by the CAA is accepted, then about six months after May 2007 (i.e. late 2007) the CAA would have issued a “cessation of business” order to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles preventing Mr Koutsantonis from registering any of his three vehicles until April 2009 when he paid the fine.
“There are clearly now a number of obvious questions which Mr Koutsantonis has to answer:
• Did Mr Koutsantonis receive “cessation of business” orders from the CAA in relation to unpaid fines from May 2007 and also another unpaid fine from May 2008?
• Given the evidence of the CAA, how can Mr Koutsantonis claim his three cars were all registered in his name prior to his paying the unpaid fine on 20 April 2009?
• Did Mr Koutsantonis on all occasions comply with the legal requirement that no-one can drive an unregistered vehicle?”