When Tim first connected with our Homeless Law clinic, he had been experiencing homelessness for several years and was living at a crisis shelter. Tim was reliant on a disability support pension, had severe mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety, and a drug dependence.
Tim was trying to get back on track and had been using public transport to access his medical appointments and social supports. His caseworker noted that as part of this process, Tim was forced to face “the financial struggle to meet accommodation costs, medications, food and daily living expenses, along with maintaining a valid Myki at all times”. Due to his personal and financial hardship, Tim received over 10 fines for failing to produce a valid ticket, totalling more than $3,000. Tim was unable to afford any of these fines, and was concerned about being cut off from his essential health and social supports.
After advising Tim about his rights and options, Homeless Law lawyers advocated with the relevant government department and applied for Tim’s fines to be cancelled on the basis of his vulnerable special circumstances. Homeless Law made extensive submissions and represented Tim in the Special Circumstances List of the Magistrates’ Court. The department withdrew several of Tim’s public transport fines and the remaining fines were revoked subject to an undertaking, allowing him to focus on improving his health and securing safe housing.
The trial free transport passes will help people in Tim’s circumstances to avoid the otherwise heavy burden of spiralling fines and court, and prioritise essential health and social supports.