RLC in the Media: Hundreds of NSW children may have undertaken unpaid work to pay off COVID-19 fines

More than 3800 children aged between 10-17 were issued fines of up to $5000 for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Elizabeth Daoud reports for Seven News

Some 307 children in NSW who were fined for COVID-19 breaches may have undertaken unpaid work to pay off the fines.

More than 3800 children aged between 10-17 were issued fines for breaching the Public Health Order, some of which were up to $5000 for contravening COVID-19 restrictions.

Revenue NSW has confirmed to 7NEWS.com.au that some children had been placed on work and development orders (WDOs), which are alternative ways people can pay off fines for COVID-19 breaches.

Revenue NSW said about 8 per cent of the 3840 COVID-19 fines issued to children are being resolved via WDOs - or around 307 children.

“Only 17 remain unresolved as at 20 July 2022,” Revenue NSW said.

Redfern Legal Centre had previously revealed that children aged 10-17 had been fined a total of more than $2.1 million for COVID-19 breaches, late last year.

Of those, 17 children were issued with $5000 fines, 39 were issued $3000 fines and more than 1600 received $1000 fines.

“The issuing of a penalty notice should be a measure of last resort, especially where children are concerned,” RLC police accountability solicitor Samantha Lee said at the time.

“A child has as much capacity to pay a $1000 or $5000 fine using their pocket money as an ant has to push a boulder uphill.

“Hefty monetary penalties issued to children hit families hard, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

“More often than not, the fine is too overwhelming for the child to deal with, so the burden and stress is shifted to the parent.”

Read full article: Hundreds of NSW children may have undertaken unpaid work to pay off COVID-19 fines (7 News, 21 July 2022)