A Work and Development Permit (WDP) issued by the Secretary to an eligible person enables that person to expiate any infringement offence without payment of any outstanding infringement penalty. Instead, the person works off fine debt by participating in approved activities and treatment.
This option is available for fines at various stages, including infringement or penalty reminder notice, and standard Notices of Final Demand or warrants. It is not available for open court fines or warrants to imprison. Note that WDPs are available for dealing with excessive speeding (25km/h over limit/over 130km/h) or driving/boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The WDP scheme is administered by the Director, Fines Victoria.
Who is an ‘eligible person’?
To be eligible, a person must have an infringement notice and:
Who is an accredited agency and an accredited health practitioner?
If a client is currently engaged with an agency or health practitioner, ask whether they are accredited for the purposes of WDPs. Otherwise, call the Department of Justice and Regulation’s WDP team on 1300 323 483 to enquire. At this stage, a full list of accredited health practitioners has not been released, however, you can download a list below that includes many accredited sponsors.
If a client is eligible, you may request that an accredited agency or accredited health practitioner apply to the Secretary to have the client’s fines cleared by participating in an approved, supervised activity. Practically, this means that the client needs to already be getting treatment from the accredited agency or the accredited health practitioner, or the accredited agency or the accredited health must agree to sponsor your client.
The accredited agency or accredited health practitioner will state in the application why they believe that the client is eligible and the activities the client will do. If the application is approved by the Secretary, no more action will be taken to recover payment of the client’s fines unless the WDP is cancelled.
An application cannot be made if:
the infringement penalty and costs have been paid;
property has been seized under an enforcement warrant other than a seizure of a kind referred to in s 89 IA;
a sheriff has served a notice under section 101(2);
an attachment of earnings order or an attachment of debts order has been made;
an order under s 136 that land is subject to a charge has been made;
a person is arrested in accordance with Part 12; or
As at November 2018, the following work-off rates apply to a client’s participation in particular WDP activities in satisfaction or part satisfaction of an infringement penalty and any prescribed costs or prescribed warrant fees:
Unpaid work under the supervision of an accredited agency
0.3 penalty units per hour
Completing courses, including educational, vocational or life skills courses
Receiving financial or other types of counselling (excluding drug and alcohol counselling)
Participating in a mentoring program (for an eligible person under the age of 25 years)
Treatment given by an accredited health practitioner
6.6 penalty units per month
Drug and alcohol counselling
Variation or cancellation of a WDP
On the request of the WDP participant or the accredited agency to the Director of Fines Victoria, or on the Director’s own motion, a WDP can be varied or cancelled (s 10E FRA).
A WDP can be suspended by the Director the person who is subject to the work and development permit is ill or other exceptional circumstances exist.
If a person does not comply with their WDP, it can be cancelled and further enforcement action taken.