Revenue NSW Deputy Secretary Scott Johnston said the new initiative would bring communities together with Government to develop plans that address social issues that may arise out of fines debt.
“For vulnerable customers and those experiencing genuine financial hardship, fines can create an overwhelming debt cycle that can cost people their driver licence and prevent them from getting a job,” Mr Johnston said.
“The Government’s Community Action Plans will help identify the issues that are leading to fines in the first place and develop strategies at a grassroots community level to overcome them,” Mr Johnston said.
“This isn’t about going easy on those who’ve done the wrong thing – it’s about addressing issues so people aren’t receiving fines in the first place.”
Community Action Plans are templates designed in consultation with Government and community services with an aim to reduce fines debt in the community.
The plans focus on reducing debt as well as fines prevention through education, improving awareness of service options and increasing the uptake of Work and Development Orders (WDOs).
Community Action Plans were created by Revenue NSW and tested with groups in Mt Druitt, Walgett and Taree, where communities decided to increase local WDO sponsor options, enable the communities to reduce debt through courses, counselling, or treatment programs including medical and mental health.
Any community can initiate an action plan and form a team of government and non-government local representatives such as community services, local council representatives, NGOs, government outreach officers and local leaders.
“We want to help communities break the cycle of fines debt and empower people to take back control of their lives, and Community Action Plans are an important first step,” Mr Johnston added.
The Community Action Plan is a tool that is available for any community organisations and individuals to access at Revenue NSW.
Organisations can learn more about how to register as Work Development Order sponsors.