Work and Development Order Service

Trouble paying fines?

Contact a WDO field officer 1800 765 767

Phone the WDO Hotline 1300 478 879


Work and Development Order Service (WDO’s)

Work and Development Orders, or WDO’s, allow people to clear their fines through unpaid work, courses or treatment.

The Work and Development Order Service is a specialist service staffed with lawyers and field officers, and delivered in partnership by Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), Legal Aid NSW, Department of Attorney General and Justice, and State Debt Recovery office (SDRO).

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


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.


How do I become an approved WDO organisation? Phone 02 8688 8314

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.


WDO’s are in NSW Correction Centres

NSW Correctional centres are 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.


Further resources

Work and Development Order Service – Legal Aid NSW

Work and Development Orders – State Debt Recovery Office