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Local Council Waives $760K in Debt

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

A local council in Perth has recently waived in excess of $760,000 in debt because staff overlooked referring the debts to their debt collection agency.

The Town of Victoria Park found that 11,148 unpaid fines, mainly from parking infringements, had failed to be outsourced for collection after a clerical error was discovered. Of those discovered as being unpaid 8,000 were uncollectable due to the limitation period expiring. With the oversight identified council wrote to the 1,000 of the larger unpaid debts demanding payment however only 49 were paid returning the council $6,617.

With council estimating that approximately $3,000 had been spent in attempting to recover the debts, which did not account for staff time, Councillors made the decision not to pursue the debt and agreed to write-off $767,199.13 at the June council meeting. Cr Karen Vernon stated that the unrecoverable debt was "disappointing on so many levels" as the money could have been utilised to make a difference to significant community projects or to pay down further debt owed by the council. Town of Victoria Park would not confirm to the Southern Gazette if any council staff were dismissed over the error.

In a statement to the media, Victoria Park Chief Executive Anthony Vulete said that their debt collection policy and practices were being reviewed and accepted that the situation was an administrative failure.


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