RLC in the Media: University Of New South Wales: NSW COVID Fines On Kids Could Breach International Law

Dr Noam Peleg, senior lecturer at UNSW’s Faculty of Law & Justice, said suggestions by the NSW government that children as young as 10 could work off COVID fines of up to $1000 were “outrageous” and a breach of Australia’s obligations under international law. 

Reported by India Education Diary

A report in The Guardian Australia found almost 3000 children between the ages of 10 and 17 had been subjected to fines for failing to comply with a direction under the public health act. The report said Revenue NSW had confirmed work and development orders, also known as WDOs, had been used for people under the age of 18. A WDO allows participants to reduce fines by engaging in unpaid work, counselling courses or treatment programs.

According to data obtained by Redfern Legal Centre, 34 of the children issued COVID-related fines remain in an unpaid work and development order to reduce their debts, from about 500 under the age of 15 who were fined close to $20,000.

The Redfern Legal Centre information revealed that in a breakdown of enforcement orders across local government areas, areas with significant communities of Indigenous Australians received the largest volume of fines per capita.

Around 45,000 fines handed out between 2021 and 2022 are now overdue.

Read full article at University Of New South Wales: NSW COVID Fines On Kids Could Breach International Law (India Education Daily, 4 August 2022).