If you are charged with a traffic offence in Queensland, for example speeding or ignoring a red light, you will be given or sent a fine known as an infringement notice. The infringement notice outlines your traffic offence and includes the cost of your fine and the procedure for payment.
Typically, you must act within 28 days by either: 
- paying the fine in full;
- entering into a voluntary instalment plan;
- disputing the matter; or
- requesting to have the matter heard by a court.
If action on an infringement notice is not taken within the necessary time frame, the matter may be referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).
What is SPER?
SPER is a body within the Queensland Treasury and Trade responsible for collecting and enforcing unpaid fines from government agencies. If you offer to pay your fine outright, you will deal only with Queensland Transport Department.
What if I can’t pay the lump sum of the fine?
If you are unable to pay your fine in a lump sum by the due date, you can apply for a voluntary instalment plan. Through this plan, you will be required to pay a minimum payment of $60 to Queensland Transport and then be referred to SPER who will manage the collection of the outstanding fine.
The provision of a payment plan is preferable to many as the fines can be a significant financial burden. Factors affecting a person’s capacity to pay is not limited to but includes homelessness, disability and financial difficulty.
What will happen if I don’t pay my infringement notice?
You will receive an enforcement order with a registration fee.
If payments are not made when they should be, SPER can seek an enforcement order. You will normally have 28 days to respond to the enforcement order. The amount of the enforcement order will be the fine and an additional registration fee of $73.80.
What if I can’t pay the enforcement order in full?
If you are unable to pay this in a lump sum payment, you may apply for an instalment plan.
What enforcement action will be taken against me if I don’t respond to the enforcement order?
SPER will take enforcement action for failure to respond. Enforcement actions are serious matters and can result in:
- Disqualification of License
- Seizure of Vehicle
- Collection letters
- Warrant for arrest and imprisonment
What if I want to contest the infringement notice registered with SPER?
If you been sent an enforcement order by SPER, you have 28 days to apply to SPER to have your matter heard in a Magistrates court.
Given the extensive nature of SPER’s powers, it is advisable you seek legal advice before attending your court hearing. Knowing how to explain your case to the Magistrate, or having a lawyer explain your case for you, could mean the difference between an extension of time on your SPER debt and the suspension of your license or seizure of your vehicle. On top of this, an unsuccessful court outcome will result in payment of the fine, an offender levy and potential extra court costs.
For more information on SPER, visit their website at https://online.sper.qld.gov.au/home
To book an appointment with one of our traffic lawyers in relations to SPER issues, contact us on (07) 3252 0011 today.
Edited by Prini Avia