The NSW Government says it has no plans to follow Finland's lead with an income-based traffic fine system.
The NSW Government says it has no plans to follow Finland's lead with an income-based traffic fine system. John McCutcheon

Call for income-based fines falls on deaf ears

NOBODY likes copping a fine, but a new Australia Institute report suggests NSW's current system puts a much greater burden on lower income earners.

Researcher Jesper Lindqvist believes the state should adopt Finland's income-based fine model that has fines fluctuate depending on an offender's annual earnings.

"Australia's system doesn't consider a driver's income when calculating a traffic fine, making the Finnish system much fairer," he said.

The study found the NSW Government would receive a 15% increase in traffic fine revenue under the Finnish model, or $58.66 million extra per year.

But the state's lowest income earners would pay only $36 for exceeding the speed limit by less than 10kmh, rather than the current across-the-board $109 fine, while the richest would be slugged with a $312 fine.

Breaking the speed limit by more than 45kmh would result in a $331 fine for those in the lowest income bracket and $2909 for the highest earners, replacing the current $2252 standard infringement notice.

"These fines represent equal financial hits for drivers as a proportion of their disposable income," Mr Lindqvist said.

"As fines are designed as a disincentive to dangerous driving, it would send the same message to people of different incomes: speeding is costly."

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the government had no intention of introducing the scheme to NSW.

"For those who break the rules, we have strict penalties in place in addition to fines, including demerit points and jail time for serious offenders," he said.

"There is no evidence this system needs to change.

"It doesn't matter what your salary is, the best way to avoid penalties that could lead to you losing your licence is to follow the road rules."


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