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Apply for an extension or a payment plan

Important changes from 31 December 2017

From 1 July 2017, the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic) was changed as part of Victoria's fines reform process, including new ‘social justice initiatives' that affect people experiencing vulnerability. On 31 December 2017, the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) commenced, creating Fines Victoria. This resulted in significant further changes to the infringements system and substantially shorter timeframes for dealing with infringements and fines.

Please be aware of these reforms in relation to any infringements assistance that you are providing to your clients.

We are in the process of updating Homeless Law in Practice. Justice Connect Homeless Law pro bono lawyers should read our further materials about the changes here (password needed), before doing any fines work after 1 July 2017. Please speak to your supervising lawyer, team leader or Homeless Law staff for more information.

Your client can apply to the enforcement agency for either an extension to pay the fine or a payment plan pursuant to section 46 of the Infringements Act.  If your client instructs that they want, and are able, to pay the fine within an extended period of time or enter into a payment plan, we recommend that your client apply to the agency as soon as possible to avoid additional enforcement costs being added to the fine. 

Who is eligible to apply for an extension or payment plan?

An enforcement agency must make a payment plan available to a person who applies and meets the eligibility criteria set out in the Attorney-General's Guidelines to the Infringements Act (see section 5).  These guidelines provide that a person is automatically eligible for an extension or payment play if he or she holds any of the following cards:

  • a Centrelink Health Care Card;
  • a Pensioner Concession Card; or
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs Concession Card or Gold Card.

The enforcement agency also has discretion to offer an instalment plan to any other person, including on the basis of hardship.  Hardship can include circumstances where an individual suffers a sudden change in their circumstances such as loss of employment, a large unexpected expense on an essential item, sudden or long term illness, family violence or similar circumstances.  

The Attorney-General's Guidelines provide that agencies should, when exercising their discretion, take into account unavoidable financial hardship that results in a person being unable to pay the fine in full in the payment period.

How to apply for an extension of time/payment plan

If your client wants to apply for an extension of time or payment plan, you should first check to see if Civic Compliance administers the fines.   

If it does, your client can make an application for a payment plan online on their website for all outstanding fines. If your client also has a payment plan in force in relation to enforcement orders, you may be able to ask Civic Compliance Victoria to add the outstanding fine onto the existing payment plan. 

With fines that are not administered by Civic Compliance, you will have to contact the relevant enforcement agency to organise a payment plan. 

If your client receives a Centrelink benefit, he or she may be able to pay the instalments via automatic Centrelink deductions by filling out the relevant form on the Centrelink website. 

An application for a payment plan should specify when the person will be able to pay the first instalment (or the entire amount in the case of an extension of time to pay), and should include a request for written confirmation of whether or not the application has been accepted.

Civic Compliance and the enforcement agency will make a decision based on the information that is provided to them so if your client is experiencing any type of hardship, ensure that your client includes any available evidence in his or her application.

Consolidating payment plans

Where your client has different payment plans for fines at different stages, your client may wish to consolidate the payment of multiple fines and associated costs under a single payment plan.

Infringements issued by multiple agencies, that are at notice or penalty reminder stage, may be combined under a single payment plan. The fines must be administered by Civic Compliance. The types of infringements handled by Civic Compliance are listed here

What if your client misses a payment?

If a person misses their first payment under a payment plan, then the plan is cancelled and is of no effect (section 48(2)).  A person defaults on a payment plan if they fail to make a payment within 14 days after it is due.  In the event of a default, further enforcement action can be taken against the person.