Communities and Justice

Work and development orders

What is a Work and Development Order?

Work and Development Orders (WDOs) help vulnerable young people clear unpaid fines with approved activities instead of money. Revenue NSW, Legal Aid NSW and the Department of Justice deliver the WDO scheme. Participation in a WDO is voluntary.

Eligibility for a WDO

Young people in care under the age of 18 will automatically be eligible for the WDO program. Care leavers aged 18 up to 25 years are recognised under the ‘acute economic hardship’ category. Eligibility for other people can be found at Revenue NSW.

How does it work?

Time spent participating in activities such as a TAFE course, treatment program, life skills course, counselling and other options will help reduce and pay off a fine.
An application for a WDO must be supported by an approved WDO sponsor who will encourage participation in suitable and appropriate activities and monitor completion of agreed activities.

How does an organisation become a WDO sponsor?

Each DCJ district is an approved WDO sponsor, so caseworkers can support the people they work with to clear unpaid fines. If DCJ staff want to know more they can read the WDO mandate that has been published on the DCJ intranet under Casework Practice. The mandate outlines what to do in considering and applying for WDO, how to monitor progress and closing a WDO.

There are some non-government organisations who are also sponsors. Apply online through Revenue NSW if your organisation would like to become a sponsor. It does not cost anything to be a WDO sponsor.

Benefits of a WDO

Being able to pay off a fine, whether through financial means or by use of a WDO is a relief when it’s done. Assisting young people in care and care leavers to pay their fine is likely to promote self esteem and self-efficiency, reduce stress, reduce reoffending, increase life skills and address factors that made it hard to manage debts.

It can also reduce the risk of being unable to apply for a driver’s licence and help their mental and physical health by dealing appropriately with serious disorders or addictions (for example by attending a drug and alcohol treatment program).

Overdue fees can build quickly and without being aware of it, a small fine can easily turn into a large fine if left unpaid. Help young people manage their fines before they turn 18 years old.

How to get young people involved?

Caseworkers are encouraged to ask young people, their parents or carers and any significant others about whether they have any unpaid fines. If they cannot afford to paytheir fine, they should be encouraged to pay off their fines through participating in the WDO program.

Caseworkers can check on behalf of the young person if they have any fines by calling the Advocacy Hotline on 1300 135 627. To do this, caseworkers will need to  register as an advocate on the Revenue NSW website which is a simple process to complete.

What activities can the young person participate in to pay off their fine?





Unpaid work with or on behalf of an approved organisation

Unpaid work must be undertaken with or on behalf of a sponsor organisation. The participant must be covered by the sponsor organisation’s insurance and workplace health and safety (WHS) provisions.

  • Assisting at a charity store or recycling service
  • Assisting at a local animal shelter
  • Cooking, serving or delivering meals
  • Land or bush care programs
  • Undertaking administrative duties.

$30 per hour

Education, vocational and life skills courses

Educational courses include courses undertaken at university, TAFE or other educational institutions. They also include courses undertaken in community or private colleges, or through a job service provider (as long as the activity is in addition to any Centrelink obligations).

  • University and TAFE
  • courses
  • Computer course
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Safer drivers course
  • Cooking course
  • Tenancy survival programs
  • Positive parenting program
  • Anger management
  • Independent living skills program etc.

$50 per hour

Financial or other counselling

Financial counselling can help young people with advice about debt issues and budgeting strategies.

Counselling can help with resolving issues of an interpersonal or personal nature as well as other emotional and behavioural issues.

  • Budgeting
  • Financial Education
  • Counselling
  • Case management (including participating in case management meetings with the caseworker)

$50 per hour

Medical or mental health treatment

Medical or mental health treatment must be undertaken in accordance with a health practitioner’s treatment plan (may encompass pharmacotherapy, as well as face-to-face sessions with apsychiatrist or psychologist).

  • Medical/mental health treatment
  • Medical review
  • Disability case management
  • Psychiatric appointments
  • Counselling (e.g. gambling disorders)
  • Medication
  • Treatment in a mental health facility or in the community under the Mental Health act 2007,
    as well as treatment undertaken in accordance with
    section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990.

$1000 a month for full compliance with treatment plan

Drug and alcohol treatment

Drug or alcohol treatment aims to assist people to overcome dependencies on, or misuse of, alcohol and/or other drugs.

  • Treatment program
  • Counselling, therapy related to drug and alcohol issues
  • Medication
  • SMART recovery

$1000 a month for full compliance with treatment plan

Participating in a mentoring program (under 25 years of age)

A mentoring relationship focuses on the needs of the mentee and is structured in a way that encourages progress towards the achievement of milestones and goals.

  • Mentoring program
  • Attendance at a case management meeting with their case worker

$1000 a month for full participation

How do I enrol a young person in the WDO program?

Approved sponsors support applications for WDOs and supervise the completion of activities or work undertake by the applicant by using the WDO self-service portal to manage the administration of a WDO.

Further Information

Last updated:

17 Feb 2023