Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)

Work & Development Orders

Having trouble paying off your fines? Work and Development Orders, or WDO's, allow people to clear their fines through unpaid work, courses or treatment.


Work and Development Order Service

The Work and Development Order Service is a specialist service staffed with lawyers and field officers, and delivered in partnership by:

WDO Lawyers and Field Officers provide free legal information, advice and assistance to:

  • people wanting to work off their fines through a WDO
  • organisations interested in becoming approved organisations
  • health practitioners interested in becoming approved registered health practitioners

Want to know more? Contact the Work and Development Order Service.


Who can apply?

People who can apply for a WDO are usually experiencing acute economic hardship, or they are homeless, have a mental illness, intellectual disability or cognitive impairment. If approved for a WDO, a person is supervised and supported by an 'approved organisation' or WDO sponsor such as a health service, case work service, youth service, disability support service or training organisation. WDOs are made by the State Debt Recovery Office.

Are you eligible for a WDO? Phone the WDO Hotline 1300 478 879


How do I become an approved WDO organisation?

The Work and Development Order Service offers community legal education sessions to organisations and health providers interested in becoming approved WDO providers. We can provide WDO presentations to managers, CEOs or your Board. We also offer a Fines and WDO's half day free workshop in major metropolitan centres for staff, volunteers and board/committee members of NSW community organisations.

For assistance, advice, queries, and further information on becoming an approved organisation, please contact the Work and Development Order Service.

To become an approved organisation, call 02 8688 8314.


WDO's are now in NSW Correction Centres

NSW Correctional centres are now implementing Work and Development Orders (WDO's). The primary aim of WDO's is to provide a non-monetary way for people to reduce their fine debt.

Inmates who can apply for a WDO must have a fine debt registered with the NSW State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO). They must also be able to prove they have at least one of the following criteria:

  • A mental illness
  • An intellectual disability or cognitive impairment
  • A serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or volatile substances

For those inmates who meet this criterion, NSW correctional centres are authorised to count satisfactory participation in drug and alcohol treatments; financial or other counselling; and educational/vocational or life skills courses towards meeting their WDO activity requirements.

For information on the implementation of the WDO scheme, please contact the relevant Correctional Centre and ask for the WDO Administrator.



WDO Service: Unpaid fines and Work and Development Orders - Brochure

Work and Development Order Service - Website

SDRO: Work and Development Orders - Fact Sheet

State Debt Recovery Office - Website