Since COVID fines were instituted in March 2020, more than $5.2 million has been collected by state governments nationwide.
State Governments have been benefitting nicely from public health reforms imposed to deal with Covid-19, with millions collected in fines and penalties since March.
According to recently released figures, more than $5.2 million has been collected nationwide since pandemic laws came into effect in March this year.
While the figures relating to New South Wales and Victoria have not been released, but will most likely be later this year after the state governments prepare their financial year-end statements, it has been reported that:
Around the states and territories
Queensland collected $2,998,872 from March 27 to July 27. Western Australia has collected about $140,000.
Tasmania has collected a total of $6,804. However, there are more than 300 people who have been arrested or issued a court summons for non-compliance with COVID-19 directions, with penalties yet to be determined by the court.
In the Northern Territory, 146 infringements for coronavirus-related breaches have been issued at $1,106 each — a total of $161,476.
In the ACT, police say they handed out their first Covid-19 related fine only just a few weeks ago to a business for $5,000 for non-compliance with the regulation that stipulates every person must have at least 4m2 floor space.
In South Australia, a total of 448 notices, worth $503,750, have now been issued. One Adelaide man was individually fined a total of $6360 after going to the gym instead of staying in quarantine for 14 days after visiting New South Wales.
Victoria and New South Wales Revenue
So far, Victoria has collected more than $1 million in fines and in New South Wales, data collected by the ABC show that approximately $417,000 in fines has been collected so far, although that figure has not yet been verified. And many fines are still in dispute, with police showing a distinct lack of consistency in enforcing laws.
Many people have been very critical of the severity of fines at a time when people are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19, either through job loss, or loss of income.
While public health laws will indeed slow the spread of the virus, there’s a good case for taking a softer approach on people who have broken the law, simply because most of the legislation has not been communicated well to the wider public, and it keeps changing in response to the spread of the virus.
What’s more, with each State and Territory making its own public health laws, there is a good deal of confusion around what’s permissible. So concerned was a coalition of Victorian community legal groups about the way the laws were being enforced, it launched a website called: The COVID Policing in Australia website, where people from anywhere around the country can go to submit information about a fine they believe has been wrongfully issued as well as report interactions with police over public health regulations.