When someone doesn’t pay a fine, there are steps the government can take, including suspending a driver’s licence, cancelling car registration, seizing property, and garnishing wages or bank accounts.
Without a driver licence, it can be difficult to keep or find a job, especially in regional areas with limited public transport.
Driving on a suspended licence is illegal, though some still do it, accumulating more fines - and ultimately ending up in jail.
What the government did
The NSW Government introduced the world-first Work and Development Orders (WDOs) Scheme to help people who can't pay their fines.
A WDO allows someone to clear their fines by up to $1000 per month by carrying out approved activities that benefit both themselves and the community. These activities include:
- doing volunteer work for charities
- completing an education course
- receiving financial counselling
- undergoing medical treatment including treatment for mental health issues.
Suspension of a driver’s licence can also be lifted so a person can continue to drive while completing a WDO.
What was achieved
A WDO allows customers to gain much-needed skills, knowledge and treatment, and connects them to services that help them tackle issues beyond outstanding fines.
By July 2019:
- more than 135,000 WDOs were completed or ongoing
- $168 million in fines debt was resolved
- more than half of WDOs involved mental health treatment plans
- 1 in 5 WDOs were taken by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people
- 1 in 4 WDOs were taken by people under 25 years, breaking the cycle of fines debt early.