Victoria’s hefty coronavirus fines have sparked calls for a closer look at where the penalties were issued, with claims that lower socio-economic areas are being hit harder.
Victorians have been fined for breaking coronavirus restrictions at almost triple the rate of any other state or territory.
In a report submitted to the state parliament’s COVID-19 inquiry this week, Victoria Police revealed 590 fines for breaking social distancing rules were issued in the greater Melbourne area around the CBD between March 21 and May 17.
Greater Dandenong had the second most fines at 333, while 297 fines were issued in lower socio-economic Frankston and the Police Accountability Project wants a closer look at the data.
“We think it is crucial to be able to further analyse why an area like Dandenong which ranks second in the state for low socio-economic indicators whilst recording 333 fines has only had 18 confirmed cases of COVID,” they said in a statement.
“An affluent area like Stonington ranking third-highest in the same socio- economic data was only issued 82 fines but recorded 94 confirmed cases.” Fines, however, are imposed for breaching restrictions regardless of an infection rate.
Affluent areas like Yarra and the Mornington Peninsula were also heavily sanctioned, with 287 fines in the City of Yarra and 203 on the peninsula.
Since late March, Victoria Police have had the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1652 to individuals breaching the chief health officer’s directives. About 5600 people have received fines totalling more than $8 million.