Lifting NSW Roads and Maritime Services sanctions prior to overdue fines being paid in full

Purpose

When an overdue fine is issued and not resolved by the due date, Revenue NSW will attempt to impose NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) sanctions against the customer .

A successful RMS sanction may involve the customer’s licence being suspended or cancelled, the customer’s vehicle registration being cancelled or the customer being restricted from conducting business with RMS.

Revenue NSW has a wide discretion to lift RMS sanctions. Revenue NSW may negotiate the lifting of RMS sanctions either in response to a customer request or as a result of Revenue NSW contacting the customer directly in relation to an unpaid overdue fine.

Definitions

Customer: has the same meaning as the definition of fine defaulter in section 3 of the Fines Act 1996 (the Act).

EO: a court fine enforcement order or penalty notice enforcement order as defined in sections 12 and 40 of the Act.

Fines Hardship Review Board: Means the body constituted under Section 101A(1) of the Act.

Sanction Lift: is the process described in section 65(5) of the Act whereby Revenue NSW directs RMS to lift a suspension against a customer ’s driver licence, cancellation of a vehicle registration or suspension of dealings with RMS.

Payment Plan: means any arrangement to repay one or more enforcement orders under a formal order issued by Revenue NSW, as described in section 100(3) of the Act.

RMS: means NSW Roads and Maritime Services.

Legislative basis

This discretion is exercised under:

  1. The broad provisions contained in section 65(4) and 65(5) of the Act, which provide that RMS will cease enforcement action when directed by Revenue NSW and that Revenue NSW may make that direction prior to a customer’s outstanding fines being paid in full.

  2. Amendments to the Act introduced in 2004, specifically section 65(4A) which provides that Revenue NSW must direct RMS to cease enforcement action if a customer is granted a first extension of time to pay a fine and the customer makes six payments in accordance with that extension of time.

    The intent of the legislation is taken to be that the six consecutive payments are in accordance with a payment plan issued by Revenue NSW.

  3. Section 100(5) of the Act provides that further enforcement action will be suspended if a payment plan is approved for a customer.

Policy

General requirements for lifting of RMS sanctions

Generally, the lifting of RMS sanctions prior to overdue fines being paid in full will be dependent on the customer being granted further time to pay under the Revenue NSW policy on Payment plans for overdue fines.

The lifting of RMS sanctions may be approved on a case-by-case basis where the customer meets one or more of the following conditions:

  1. The customer makes an up-front payment

    In determining the amount of any up-front payment, Revenue NSW may take into account any or all of the following:

    1. the applicant’s income

    2. the applicant’s expenditure

    3. the amount of the debt to be repaid

    4. whether a previous time to pay order has not been complied with

    5. the applicant’s commitment to pay previous debts (whether or not by instalment).

  2. The customer demonstrates a commitment to comply with a Payment Plan

    Sanctions may be lifted for a customer who can demonstrate a commitment to comply with a payment plan, however does not fall within the mandatory sanction lift provisions contained within section 65(4A) of the Act.

  3. The health or safety of persons (other than the customer) would be put at risk

    Supporting documentation may be required to establish the need for a licence and the physical health and safety of the other person who is the subject of the application.

  4. The medical circumstances of the customer require a licence

    Supporting documentation may be required to establish the need for a licence and the medical circumstances of the customer.

  5. The customer requires a licence to continue employment

    Supporting documentation may be required to verify the customer’s claim that without a licence they would be prevented from continuing employment.

  6. Unemployed customers

    Sanctions may be lifted for a customer where a licence is required to obtain work. Supporting documentation may be required to verify the customer’s claim.

  7. Remote location

    Sanctions may be lifted for a customer who lives in a remote area without access to transport. Supporting documentation may be required to establish that the customer lives in a remote location and/or that public transport is not available.

  8. Koori Community and crime prevention initiatives

    In accordance with initiatives focused on crime prevention, sanctions may be lifted for members of rural Koori communities who may never have held a licence and/or have enrolled in a driving school. Supporting documentation may be required to verify the customer’s claim.

System or processing related sanction lifts

Authorised Revenue NSW officers may approve the lifting of RMS sanctions on grounds not otherwise specified in this policy where:

  1. a customer has multiple RMS numbers which, in the opinion of the officer, have resulted in sanctions being unfairly imposed on a customer; or

  2. in the opinion of the officer, there has been an unreasonable delay in responding to a customer application which, if approved, would cause the RMS sanction to be lifted; or

  3. a system or automated sanction lift by the system has failed to work correctly; or

  4. an RMS sanction is imposed in relation to a file which has been duplicated or otherwise contains bad data.

Unusual or extenuating circumstances

Authorised Revenue NSW officers may approve the lifting of RMS sanctions on grounds not otherwise specified in this policy where, in the opinion of the officer, continued imposition of RMS sanctions is harsh or unreasonable.

When applying this criteria, the officer should be satisfied that the requirements and a timeframe to resolve the fines is communicated to the customer.

Advocacy groups

An application to lift sanctions may be made on behalf of a customer by a recognised advocacy group, subject to privacy rules.

Any sanction lift determination may be made in consultation with an advocacy group, subject to privacy rules.

Payment plan arrears

Where a customer has entered into a payment plan and fails to make the required payments, the payment plan may be cancelled and section 64(4B) of the Act provides that RMS sanctions may be re-applied.

Review

A senior officer may review a lower graded officer’s decision to decline an application for sanction lift.

An application for review may be made verbally or in writing; however, a customer may be required to provide documentation to support the request.

A reviewing officer will exercise discretion when considering the circumstances provided in the original application. Each application will be considered independently and on its own merit.

Last updated: 30 July 2017