Residents of the Gympie region enter the new year owing about $8.7 million to SPER.
Residents of the Gympie region enter the new year owing about $8.7 million to SPER.

The staggering debt Gympie starts 2020 with

A FRESH start to the new year is not on the cards for more than 3800 of the region’s residents thanks to an $8.7 million outstanding SPER debt.

Up to the end of November 2019, Queensland Treasury data reveals more than 3800 people across the region owed money to the penalty enforcer.

The debt in Gympie’s 4570 postcode was understandably the largest at $7.38 million.

Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Cove reported the next highest with $716,000 outstanding, and Rainbow Beach, Inskip and Fraser Island residents owed $306,000.

At Kilkivan and Mudlo the debt was $180,000 and $138,000 in the regions surrounding Goomeri and Tansey.

More than 3800 people across Gympie owe money to SPER.
More than 3800 people across Gympie owe money to SPER.

All of this debt was accumulated through more than 28,000 outstanding debts racked up by 3893 debtors.

Across the region, the average debt per person was $2272, each owing an average of seven debts.

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The region’s highest and lowest debt averages were out west: $2668 owed per person in the Kilkivan region, and $1815 around Goomeri and Tansey.

The Gympie region’s total $8.7 million debt was about $500,000 less than it was in April last year; however, this does not mean it has been paid off as debt is tied by SPER to people’s postcode addresses and moves with them.

Parking fines are a common cause of SPER debt.
Parking fines are a common cause of SPER debt.

The region’s debt represents less than 1 per cent of the State’s total debt, which was $1.28 billion owed at the end of November.

Of this, $779 million is owed to the State Government and $405 million is owed to the courts.

So far this financial year SPER has collected $123 million of the outstanding debt.

Speeding was the most frequent cause of SPER debt, although vehicle offences (uninsured or unregistered vehicles), parking and other driving offences (dangerous driving or driving without a seatbelt), and tolling, court debts also contribute significantly to the total.

SPER’s debt enforcement can include wheel-clamping, seizure of property, wage or bank account garnisheeing and licence suspension.