Monday, June 24, 2024

Cars, bikes seized as part of record Queensland debt compliance program

The Queensland Government’s Debt Recovery and Compliance Program (DRCP) has delivered almost half a billion dollars in additional revenue, more than 18 months ahead of schedule.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick said the program of revenue and State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) debt collection measures had already exceeded its June 2024 forecast of $488.1 million.

“If money is owed to Queensland taxpayers, I think it’s only fair that those debts are paid,” the Treasurer said.

“That’s been the objective of our Debt Recovery and Compliance program since I announced it – getting that money repaid to Queenslanders as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We’ve already collected $541 million in almost half the time it was expected to take to recover our initial target.

“This is a pleasing result, because that money can now be put towards deliver better services for Queenslanders through new hospitals, schools and critical road upgrades.”

The Treasurer said the result came as more than 50 vehicles were seized from Gold Coast debtors during a recent enforcement blitz by SPER to recover unpaid fines, a key initiative of the DRCP.

“Enforcement officers seized 54 vehicles – a record for a single operation – and collected more than $3 million in cash, while securing payment plan commitments of a further $10 million,” he said.

“SPER officers clamped and then seized vehicles across the Gold Coast, including Coomera, Helensvale, Southport, Robina, Burleigh Heads and Tugun.

“SPER officers seized a range of vehicles, including Range Rovers, BMWs, high-end SUVs, utes, a Harley-Davidson and even a prime mover.

“12 of these vehicles have been sold at auction because the owners refused to pay the fines and penalties that they owed.

SPER officers are now undertaking an operation across inner-Brisbane suburbs.

“Through this operation, SPER officers will be targeting Brisbane debtors who continue to break the law, rack up fines and then refuse to pay,” he said.

The Treasurer said the government’s investment in debt recovery had seen SPER achieve record collections of almost $300 million last financial year.

“A new debt management centre at Ipswich has collected more than $276 million in SPER payments since 2020, some of which has been outstanding for years,” he said.

“That’s been supported by an investment in SPER’s field enforcement capabilities, which has seen SPER target high-value debtors through its wheel clamping operations and seize 350 vehicles in the past two years.

“Our government is backing SPER to collect the money owed to Queenslanders and victims of crime.”

The Treasurer said it wasn’t just debt collection yielding results, with new revenue compliance measures ensuring that everyone is paying their fair share of taxes, royalties and transfer duty. 

“We’ve given Queensland Revenue Office (QRO) the tools to improve upfront compliance, cut red tape and introduce more user-friendly self-service platforms to help businesses meet their obligations,” the Treasurer said.

“Those who choose not to comply, can be the subject of a QRO audits or investigation. 

“Investment in additional detection models for tax and royalty non-compliance and improved data-matching with other agencies identifies those businesses and individuals who are avoiding their responsibilities.

“Queensland Revenue Office will continue to collect every dollar that is owed to the people of Queensland.”

For an initial investment of $74.95 million, the program had been estimated to increase collections and revenue by $488.1 million, between 2020–21 and 2023–24. 

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