There may be a way for you to do an approved activity like drug and alcohol counselling or seeing a financial counsellor instead of paying your fines.
Who is eligible
To be eligible for a work and development permit you need to already be getting treatment from an approved community agency, doctor or counsellor. This is because the agency has to apply on your behalf and supervise you while you take part in the program.
You may be eligible if you cannot afford to pay your fine and you:
- have a mental illness
- have an intellectual disability
- are addicted to drugs, alcohol or inhaling volatile substances (‘chroming’)
- are a victim of family violence
- are homeless
- are having serious financial problems.
To show that you are having serious financial problems you will need to be on Centrelink benefits, be eligible for a low income health care card or provide evidence that you are in serious financial hardship.
There are many different activities that you can do instead of paying your fine. These include:
- doing unpaid work
- doing an education, training or life skills course
- having treatment for mental health issues, drug or alcohol addiction
- having financial or other counselling
- being mentored if you are under 25 years old.
How to apply for a work and development permit
If you would like to apply for a work and development permit, you should speak to the community agency you are getting treatment from. An agency can only help you if they have been approved by Fines Victoria to offer work and development permits.
If you agree to taking part in the program, the agency can apply on your behalf. The application will state why they believe you are eligible and the activities you will do. If your application is approved, Fines Victoria tell you what you need to do to complete the work and development permit and how long this will take. This is called the ‘work off rate’.
Act quickly. Applications cannot be made after the Sheriff seizes your property or after some actions are taken on an enforcement warrant.
Completing a work and development permit
If your application is approved, no more action will be taken to recover payment for your fines unless the work and development permit is cancelled. Your agency reports regularly to Fines Victoria about how you have progressed in the program.
It is important to let the agency know if you are having trouble complying with the activities. The permit can be changed or suspended for a while if you are unwell or if there are exceptional circumstances.
If you do not successfully complete the program you may have to pay the fine(s).
Find out how you can get other support for fines and infringements.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
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Reviewed 06 April 2022