Hoons, motorists on mobiles and leadfoot corporate ‘cheats’ targeted as fees, fines and charges to increase in 2019-20

The State Government has announced a new schedule of fees, fines and charges for 2019-20 – with most increasing by 5 per cent, but with notable exceptions including for reckless hoons, leadfoot company car drivers and motorists on their mobile phones, who will cop very significant hikes in their fines.

However, the Government has quarantined increases in public transport fares to 2 per cent and fines for low-range speeding to just 1.7 per cent.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said the increases, which followed an average rise in fees and charges of 3.1 per cent over the last two decades, would generate approximately $79 million extra revenue in 2019-20 (compared to estimates if the standard indexation factor of 2 per cent was used) and formed part of the Government’s response to helping offset an enormous $517 million write-down in GST revenue.

“It’s no secret the State faces a significant $517 million shortfall in GST revenue in 2019-20 and it’s imperative we seek to plug that hole in a responsible way. The Government will continue to cut waste and reduce spending in lower priority areas and increase revenue, especially from people who are breaking the law,” said Mr Lucas.

“We’re cracking down on lead-foot drivers of company cars who speed and run red lights.

“For far too long, thousands of them have been ripping off the system by asking their bosses not to identify them as a speeding motorist in a company vehicle, enabling them to avoid a loss of demerit points so they can stay on the road and keep their licence. In the last financial year, we had 15,000 people caught in this manner.

“The company’s fee will jump $1500 from $300 to $1800.

“Quite frankly, the limp lettuce leaf of a fine structure we’ve had in the past has practically given these motorists a licence to speed. Many of them should have lost their licence but they’re getting away with it.

“Brainless idiots who blatantly thumb their nose at the law, risking the lives of others on our roads, ought to be whacked. Fines for anyone caught speeding at 30km/h or more above the speed limit will increase by $552 to $1472, while those hoons speeding 45k/h above the limit will cop a $1,658 fine – an increase of $622.

“Motorists using their mobile phone behind the wheel will pay an extra $200 (total $534 fine).”

“Fines for low-range speeding, travelling less than 10km/h above the speed limit, will increase by only $3 – or 1.7 per cent.

Public transport users have also been quarantined from larger increases.

“We have limited any increase in public transport fares to 2 per cent, which will add only 10 cents to a single trip ticket, 7 cents to a MetroCard single fare and $2 to a regular 28 Day pass,” said Mr Lucas.

Under the new schedule, to come into effect on July 1, the annual motor vehicle registration fee for a four-cylinder car will increase by $6 to $132, a driver’s licence renewal (five years) will rise by $10 to $230, while a ten-year renewal will increase $20 to $460.

There will also be an increase in the Motor Vehicle Act Administration Fee – an extra $3 for Level 1 transactions, such as renewal of a motor vehicle registration, and Level 2 transactions, such as renewal of a driver’s licence, and $8 more for Level 3, such as transfer of registration of a motor vehicle.

“The total increased cost for a 4-cylinder car in the metropolitan area for a 12-month registration is about $11, which is significantly less than the $114 saving in CTP insurance for the same vehicle announced yesterday,” Mr Lucas said.

“Whilst CTP insurance costs for cars in regional areas are lower and, therefore, the CTP savings are lower when compared with metropolitan Adelaide, the net saving when registering the car will still be significant.”

Motor vehicle registration fee concessions, under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959, for vehicles used wholly or mainly in ‘outer areas’ – Kangaroo Island, District Council of Coober Pedy, District Council of Roxby Downs, and all other parts of the state that are not within a municipality, a district council area or Iron Knob – will be removed over a 2-year phased-in approach.

Currently, there is a 40 per cent concession for heavy vehicles, and a 50 per cent concession for other vehicles. These concessions are being removed as there’s no reason why it applies to some parts of regional South Australia and not others.

The $5 one-off fee for the purchase of a re-useable MetroCard ($3.50 for concession) has been re-introduced, which will cover new, lost or damaged cards. And, in an effort to ensure that appropriate fees are paid by commuters and to limit fare evasion, the 2-section fare has been abolished.

2-section MetroCard trips are $1.70 cheaper (in peak time) than regular MetroCard trips and are intended for the passenger to only travel an approximate 3km distance. However, it’s believed hundreds of passengers are rorting the system by paying less but travelling further.

In addition, Consumer and Business Services regulatory fees, including births, deaths and marriage certificates, lottery licensing, renewals and certificates for builders, plumbers, gas fitters, electricians, security agents, conveyancers and land agents will incur a 10 per cent increase next financial year.

Car parking fees at metropolitan public hospital sites, for staff and visitors, will also be increased from January 1, 2020 – having not increased since 2011 in most cases (the exception being the WCH). For example, public fees at the NRAH will be increased by about 20 per cent, and staff car parking fees for a full-time employee will increase by $5.75 to a total of $22.50 a week.

Despite these increases, fees charged will be in line with surrounding commercial car parking rates and compare favourably with rates for public hospitals interstate. For example, public car parking for 2 hours at the NRAH will be $8 compared to $11 or $14 at the two nearest commercial car parks.

The Government remains committed to discounting car parking rates for relatives of long stay hospital patients. Last year, we reduced the parking charge at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for relatives of long stay patients from $65 per week to $38 per week to make it consistent with all other metropolitan hospitals.

This change will see it increase to $45 a week for relatives of long-stay patients at all metro hospitals excluding the Women’s and Children’s which remains at $38 a week.

“Since coming to Government, we have also broadened the groups who are eligible for exemptions to car parking fees,” said Mr Lucas.

“Parents and carers of babies and young child patients who are required to attend the hospital for clinical reasons at least once a week for a period of at least four weeks will no longer have to pay for car parking. The same applies for parents or carers of palliative care, paraplegic, quadriplegic, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and renal dialysis patients. Other relatives or carers will also be able to apply to the health facility manager for exemptions.”

Among other fee increases:

  • A levy estimated to be between $100 and $400 per property per year for outback areas where there’s no council with the funding to be directed to the Outback Communities Authority to maintain services and upgrade infrastructure.
  • Introduction of a User Pays Scheme to cost recover for police attendance at commercial events, such as cricket, AFL, Royal Adelaide Show, and will apply where codes seek SA Police presence at events, but where there is a choice between SAPOL or private security, as is done in other states, such as Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
  • Annual exploration licence fees will also increase for licence holders in areas around the Gawler Craton and Olympic Dam. The standard fee of $565 or $13.10 per square km, whichever is the greater, will further increase to $757 or $17.50 per square km for the Gawler Craton zone, and $953 or $22.10 per square km for the zone within a 200km radius of Olympic Dam.

And, as detailed in the 2018-19 State Budget, South Australia’s new liquor licensing structure has been finalised after extensive consultation with the sector and industry groups.

Changes to the fee structure were developed following the review undertaken by retired Supreme Court Judge the Hon Tim Anderson QC, which recommended implementing a risk-based annual liquor licensing fee structure and thorough analysis of the current fees being paid at all levels of licences.

The new fees are set to come into effect for new licences from November this year. Existing licences transitioning to the new system will not be affected by the fee changes until they are renewed in mid-2020. Licensees can sign up for regular updates, learn more about the new fee structure and update their details by heading to www.cbs.sa.gov.au/liquor-reform.

Whilst some of these increases in this release will be gazetted today, others will be gazetted in the near future subject to the usual final consideration by Executive Council.

/Public News. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).