The Work and Development Permit (WDP) scheme provides vulnerable and disadvantaged people with a non-financial way of paying off their fine debt, by participating in certain activities and treatment.
A person must undertake a WDP with the supervision of a Sponsor that is accredited by the Director of Fines Victoria. First Step is accredited to provide ‘Counselling and Treatment by a Health Practitioner’.
To reduce the debt, a person must consistently engage with their Sponsor and Clinician – this could be a First Step Psychologist, Doctor, Counsellor, Mental Health Nurse or Therapist. At the end of each month, First Step sends an assessment to Fines Victoria and dependent on attendance, a certain amount is paid off.
Who is the Work and Development Permit scheme for?
The WDP scheme is designed to provide a fresh start from infringement debt for those who engage in a treatment program.
To participate in the scheme, a person must:
• Have a mental or intellectual disability, disorder or illness
• Have an addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance
• Be experiencing homelessness
• Be experiencing acute financial hardship, or
• Be the victim of family violence
At First Step, the types of activities that a person can undertake as part of a WDP include:
• Treatment given by a doctor, nurse or psychologist
• Counselling, including drug and alcohol counselling
If a participant stops engaging with their treatment plan no deductions are made from their infringement debt, and the WDP may be cancelled.
How to access the Work and Development Permit scheme?
Contact First Step on 03 9537 3177 to book a consultation with a Sponsor and assess eligibility. In this meeting the Sponsor will identify whether the person is suitable for the program and what activities are available for treatment.
If approved, they will be asked to provide their outstanding infringement notices and sign the consent forms.
The participant must not receive any more fines once their WDP is approved. If they receive a new fine, there is no guarantee that this will be added to their account, and they may be required to pay for the fine themselves. If they receive another infringement after their account is closed, only in special circumstances will a WDP be reopened.
To find out more about the Work and Development Permit scheme, please visit the Department of Justice website.