Can't pay your fines?

A Work and Development Order (WDO) can reduce your fines by up to $1000 a month

I’ve got a fine. What should I do?

You can always do something about a fine, even if you can’t pay it in full by the due date. You can:

  • clear your fines with a Work and Development Order (WDO) if you are eligible
  • ask for a payment plan
  • nominate another person if you weren’t the one driving your car at the time or responsible for the offence
  • ask for a review, or
  • apply to have the fine written off if you have serious financial, medical or domestic problems.

What if I'm on Centrelink?

If you receive a Centrelink payment, such as a pension or JobSeeker Payment, you can also:

  • apply to have the payments deducted through Centrepay, or
  • ask for a reduction in the fine amount if you are eligible.
  • Tip! Overdue fines are serious.

    Tip! Overdue fines are serious.

    Revenue NSW can take recovery action like:

    • ask Transport for NSW to suspend your driver licence or cancel your car registration
    • take money from your bank account or wages
    • refer your debt to a private debt collector
    • register an interest on any land or property you own, and
    • order the sheriff to take your goods or property and sell them.

    Each action taken may add more to your debt.

    So don’t ignore a fine. If you can’t pay, get help quickly.

What is a Work and Development Order?

WDOs help vulnerable people who can’t pay their fines.

If you are eligible for a WDO, you can clear your fines with activities instead of money. You can do unpaid work, counselling, courses, treatment programs and more.

WDOs are supervised by WDO sponsors. They can be a government or non-government organisation, health service, psychologist, doctor or nurse.

Any enforcement action that has been taken against you for unpaid fines such as restrictions on your licence, will be lifted when your WDO starts.

WDO stories

Noel is an Aboriginal man with a young baby. He is on Centrelink payments and in financial distress. He has unpaid fines for not voting and driving an unregistered vehicle. His licence has been suspended.

Noel wants his licence back so he can get to back to work and drive his family around. He is accepted into the WDO program at the Local Aboriginal Land Council doing voluntary work.

He volunteers every Friday, reducing his fines by $30 an hour.

Noel gets his licence back when he starts his WDO.

He completes his WDO in one month and is now back on the road debt free.

Zoe has bipolar disorder and gets a Disability Support Pension.

She has over $7000 in unpaid fines. Zoe is seeing a new community mental health nurse who has agreed to sponsor her WDO.

As long as Zoe follows her mental health treatment plan, which includes regular appointments with her mental health nurse and taking her medication, she will clear her fines by $1000 a month.

Joanne is 17 and on Youth Allowance. She’s been couch surfing for a few months because of problems at home.

Joanne has fines of $1500 for catching trains without an Opal card and driving as an unaccompanied learner. She wants to clear her fines so she can apply for a licence.

Joanne is able to do a WDO because she is under 18. She is doing some programs at her local youth centre, including a mentoring program.

Joanne is able to clear her fines and learn some new skills at the same time.

Can I get a WDO?

If you ✔ tick one or more of these boxes, you could be eligible for a WDO:

  • I get a Centrelink benefit
  • I am in financial hardship
  • I am homeless or living in temporary accommodation
  • I have an addiction to drugs, alcohol or other substances
  • I have a mental illness
  • I have an intellectual disability
  • I have cognitive impairment (such as autism, brain injury or dementia)
  • I am under 18 years of age

How it works

Review the check list above.

Some WDO sponsors are listed on the Revenue NSW website or you can call their WDO hotline.

 If you can’t find one in your area, the WDO Service at Legal Aid NSW may be able to help you find one.

The WDO sponsor will confirm if you are eligible for a WDO and tell you what information you need to give them.

You and your WDO sponsor decide what activities you'll do. You can find examples of activities below. Your sponsor will set up your WDO with Revenue NSW.

Complete the activities you’ve agreed to do. Your WDO sponsor will report the hours to Revenue NSW each month.


An organisation or health practitioner you are engaging with might already be a WDO sponsor. Ask them.

It’s very important that you complete the activities you’ve agreed to do for your WDO. If you don’t complete your WDO, it may be cancelled and enforcement action will start again.

WDO Activities and rates

$50 per hour
  • Courses at TAFE, uni or college Life skills programs like cooking, gardening, anger management, positive parenting or learning to drive.
  • Training courses in computer skills or preparing for jobs 
Counselling (includes case management)
$50 per houur
  • Individual counselling or therapy to improve mental health, emotional or behavioural issues
  • Family counselling
  • Group counselling or support groups
  • Financial counselling
  • Case management meetings with a social worker or case worker
Unpaid work
$30 per hour
  • Volunteering at a charity, neighbourhood centre, community garden or bush care program
Medical or mental health treatment
$1,000 per month
  • Health practitioner treatment plan
  • Seeing a psychologist or mental health nurse under a GP's mental health care plan
  • Voluntary or involuntary treatment in a mental health facility or in the community
Drug and alcohol treatment
Up to $1,000 per month
  • Drug and alcohol counselling Residential rehabilitation programs
  • Supervised outpatient detoxification programs
  • Medications
Mentoring programs (for under 25 years)
 to $1,000 per month
  • Youth mentoring program Working one-on-one with an experienced person, such as an Elder, to achieve your goals
  • Mentoring for ex-prisoners to provide post-release support
Maximum monthly amount $1000

If you can’t do a WDO

If you get a fine, ask for help. It’s important to deal with fines as soon as possible. There may be other options available to you.

Are you disqualified from driving?

If you’re suspended or disqualified from driving, for reasons other than unpaid fines, a WDO will NOT lift your driving restrictions.

You may be able to apply to the Local Court have your disqualification period removed.

Where can I get more help?

OrganisationInformationContact details
Legal Aid NSW WDO ServiceThe Work and Development Order Service gives free legal advice and help for people with unpaid fines. They can help you find a WDO sponsor.Email:
LawAccess NSWProvides free telephone legal information and referrals to other services, including to your nearest Legal Aid NSW office, Community Legal Centres, private lawyers and other organisations that can help.Chat to our team by clicking on 'Chat with us' on the right or by calling 1300 888 529 Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm.
Revenue NSWFor information about your fines and WDOs call the Revenue NSW WDO Hotline (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) Phone: 1300 478 879
Fine FixerOnline self-help with a series of simple questions that provides options to deal with your fines.

August 2023                                                                                                    

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