Work and Development Orders

Information about how to apply for a Work and Development Order (WDO).

What is a Work and Development Order?

If you can’t pay your fine, you may be able to complete a WDO.

A WDO involves doing an activity as a way of paying off some or all of your fines. It may include:

  • doing unpaid work
  • completing a course
  • receiving treatment.

Your application for a ​WDO must be supported by an approved organisation or qualified health practitioner. Revenue NSW must approve your application before fines you can start completing activities to pay off your fines.

If you complete your WDO, your fine(s) will be paid. No further enforcement action will be taken against you.  

You can apply for a WDO if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • have a mental illness
  • have an intellectual disability or cognitive impairment
  • have a serious addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • are homeless
  • are experiencing extreme financial hardship (which can include where you rely on a Centrelink benefit)
  • are under 18 years of age.

This includes:

  • both adults and children
  • people living interstate (with a NSW fine debt)
  • people on a permanent or temporary Australia visa (with a NSW fine debt).

If you are on a visa, you should get legal advice before you apply for a WDO. Completing some approved activities may breach your visa conditions. 

What activities you can do will depend on your personal circumstances. The approved activities include:

  • unpaid work, including voluntary activities done in gaol, juvenile detention or on community supervision
  • medical or mental health treatment, including disability case management
  • an educational, vocational or life skills course, including the MERIT and CREDIT programs
  • financial or other counselling, including family and group counselling
  • drug or alcohol treatment
  • a mentoring program.

The traffic offender intervention program can be an approved activity for a WDO if you voluntarily start the program before you are sentenced for the traffic offence. 

If you are ordered by the Court to complete the traffic offender intervention program it won’t count towards a WDO. 

If you have an unrestricted licence, and your licence has been suspended twice in five years for having too many demerit points, Transport NSW can require you to complete the program before you can get your licence back. If you complete the program at the request of Transport for NSW, you can ask for it to be an approved activity under a WDO. 

Your WDO must be approved before you start the program. 

You must complete the activities your WDO sponsor nominates.

These activities will count towards your fine at a rate of up to $1,000 per month. You can do more than one activity at a time. However, the maximum amount of WDO credit you can earn in a month is $1,000.

Before you apply for a WDO, you must find an approved sponsor to support your application. A WDO sponsor may be located outside of NSW.

To find a sponsor:

  • see Search WDO sponsor on the NSW Government website
  • contact the WDO Hotline on 1300 478 879
  • ask a community organisation or h​ealth practitioner that you already know.

Your sponsor will need to:

  • assess your eligibility to undertake a WDO
  • obtain and keep the documents relating to your application
  • submit your application and monthly activity reports through the WDO self-service portal
  • keeps records of the activities you complete.

Your sponsor will apply for a WDO on your behalf.

You will need to provide:

  • your date of birth
  • your address and contact details
  • your driver licence number and the state it was issued in
  • your Customer Reference Number, if you receive a Centrelink benefit
  • your support documents, such as payslips or bank statements.

If Revenue NSW refuses your application for a Work and Development Order you can appeal this decision to the Fines Hardship Review Board. Before you make this appeal, you should get legal advice.

If you don’t comply with your WDO, Revenue NSW can cancel it. If your WDO is cancelled, you will need to deal with your overdue fines. If you don’t, Revenue NSW will take action against you to recover the fines.

For more information, see What if I do nothing?

If you want to change your WDO, you must speak to your sponsor first.

You can ask to change your WDO:

  • if your work, treatment, or number of hours completing your activities has changed 
  • you want to include new fines in your WDO.

Your sponsor can ask to change or cancel a WDO through the online self-service portal.

If your circumstances have changed and you can’t complete the agreed activities, you must notify Revenue NSW as soon as possible.

If you are granted a WDO, no action will be taken against you to recover the fines that relate to the WDO.

If your licence was suspended or your vehicle registration was cancelled due to the fines included in your WDO, you will get your licence and registration back.

If your licence was suspended or disqualified for reasons other than unpaid fines, a WDO won’t allow you to get your licence back.

If you receive new fines after the WDO is made, action can be taken against you in relation to those fines.