Reports today that the Andrews Labor Government has botched the withdrawal of a COVID-19 fine is the latest failure of Labor's inconsistent and ambiguous COVID-19 restrictions.
On Sunday 5th April, 17-year-old VCE student Hunter Reynolds was issued a $1,652 fine for breaching COVID-19 restrictions whilst undergoing a driving lesson with her mother.
Following this case being raised by the Opposition with the Andrews Labor Government, on the 7 April 2020, Police Minister Lisa Neville provided written advice stating;
“Victoria Police has however now conducted a review of this infringement to consider whether discretion should be applied following an assessment of all the circumstances. Victoria Police has confirmed that as a result of this review a decision has been made to withdraw the infringement.”
Despite this statement, last week Ms Reynolds received a penalty notice reminder in the mail from Fines Victoria. The notice was for the initial fine amount of $1,652 in addition to a $25.80 “penalty reminder notice fee” and a $133.40 late fee if the fine is unpaid by 1 June 2020.
This botched fine withdrawal may only be the tip of the iceberg, with a recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s COVID-19 response revealing 337 fines issued by Victoria Police had been withdrawn or cancelled.
Victorians want to do the right thing during the COVID-19 outbreak, yet Daniel Andrews failure to set and enforce clear rules during COVID-19 has left Victorians confused.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police, David Southwick:
“The last thing a 17-year-old in the middle of VCE needs is to be hit with a fine and a late fee after she was reassured by the Government that the fine had been withdrawn.
“Whether it’s setting ambiguous rules or failing to follow through on fine withdrawals, Labor has botched the implementation Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions and left the community second-guessing themselves.
“The Andrews Government needs to clean up this mess and now recheck each of the 337 fines that it had committed to withdraw and reassure the public that this isn’t the tip of the iceberg."