Such a dangerous rort

Dear NSW Government Revenue,

I am writing about your email to me regarding my penalty notices for driving an unregistered vehicle and not having a validated green slip.

You say you “considered the circumstances” I presented and determined my penalties should still apply.

You tell me that “driving an unregistered vehicle is illegal and potentially dangerous”.

No shit Sherlock. So I’d like to know why you’ve created a system that increases the risk of harm rather than reduces it?

Your flawed approach to registration renewal results in thousands of people doing the same thing as me every year.

Instead of reminding people that their rego has lapsed, you let them drive around illegally for months. You wait for a police car to spot and heavily fine them for their oversight.

And that’s very lucrative for your department, isn’t it?  Fines for driving unregistered vehicles in NSW have raked in more than $240 million in state revenue since car registration stickers were removed six years ago.

You fined me almost $1400 – that means more than 170,000 people in NSW have made the same honest mistake as I did.

It’s particularly confounding that you’ve set up the Service NSW website so email and SMS notifications that payments are late have been turned off by default.

Unless NSW drivers are psychic or have been forewarned by one of the 170,000 people you have fined already, I have no idea how we’re supposed to guess you’ve set up such a sneaky little trap.

I agree with a bloke called Steven Morris, who got pinged for making the same mistake as me last year. He told The Sydney Morning Herald: “They have my email, phone and home address. With three options to contact me, you would think they would have taken one of those opportunities rather than leaving it until my car goes completely out of registration and now we have to get a blue slip and give our number plates back and start from square one.

“If we had an accident and hurt someone we would have been uninsured – it could be a life-or-death thing rather than just an admin thing.”

NSW Revenue has a slogan: “NSW Revenue = a fair and prosperous NSW”.

I can see what’s properous about it, but I’m thinking the “fair” part is missing. It’s a revenue raising exercise, plain and simple. It’s got nothing to do with catching dodgy dickheads who’ve deliberately skipped out on their responsibilities as car owners.

You tell me: “If you have an at-fault accident while driving an unregistered vehicle, you could be held personally liable for compensation to any person injured. Unregistered vehicles also pose a serious risk to the wider community as these vehicles are less likely to have had a safety inspection.”

I KNOW THAT! It’s why I purchased a green slip in November, but unfortunately it wasn’t valid because I forgot to pay my rego.

I want to know why the NSW government is putting the future of so many people and their families at risk. I was lucky not to have an accident while I was unwittingly driving an unregistered car. What if someone like me DOES have an accident?

I find it shocking that Service NSW or NSW Revenue or whichever organisation it is rubbing its hands gleefully together over it’s clever windfall cares more about raking in the dollars than the potentially devastating situation it has created.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury told the SMH:  “Most people wouldn’t intentionally not renew their rego. We urge the government to use every communication channel available to them to let people know.”

Yes! Would it hurt to send a bloody reminder? Every other organisation sends reminders. Banks, Energy Australia, Optus, my child’s skipping coach.

Forgetting to pay my credit card bill or energy bill or phone bill or skipping bill won’t result in a devastating personal liability situation. Your money-hungry “nah-nah, shame on you for forgetting” approach could.

I even got an SMS from Energy Australia last week to remind me that I’d get a discount on my gas bill if I paid it on time.

As for my late rego, I was “lucky”  it only caused a lot of distress, an unnecessary blue slip, a pair of unnecessary new number plates and a fine I can’t afford.

What a waste of everyone’s time and resources!

Yes wowser Commissioner of Fines Administration, I know I should be more vigilant about paying my bills. But life is a shitstorm sometimes and I was in the eye of it when my rego was due.

Where is the allowance for human error?

It’s obvious your current system isn’t working. More than 170,000 New South Welshman can attest to that.

The “fair” – and sensible – thing to do would be to review it.

Yours sincerely

HouseGoesHome

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