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Refugee fights driving fines with the help of Suncoast CLS

Peter* arrived in Australia as a refugee approximately 8 years ago with his wife and young daughter.  He held several lowly paid casual jobs to support his family but needed a higher income as they had decided to apply for Australian citizenship which was expensive. 

Peter decided to become a taxi driver and made the relevant applications but received a “show cause” letter from the Department of Transport advising him that due to 3 driving offences his application would be refused unless he gave them a reason not to.  Upon review of the letter and the offences, Suncoast Community Legal Service, together with USC Law Clinic students under their supervision, wrote a submission to the Department explaining the unfortunate set of circumstances which led to the driving offences. 

Petert had obtained a drivers’ licence on his arrival in Australia but did not appreciate it was a restricted licence, so when he was caught speeding on one occasion he lost his licence.  His licence was suspended for 3 months due to expire on 15 May.  The client interpreted this to mean he could resume driving on 15 May and was unfortunately picked up by the police on the same day and was charged with driving on a suspended licence.  Upon a full explanation of the circumstances and the unintentional error of the client, the Department decided to issue Peter with a taxi licence. 

* not his real name.

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