FAQ

What do I need before applying for hardship relief?

You can apply for hardship relief if you have one or more enforcement orders issued in your name and SDR has:

  • refused your application for time to pay a fine by instalments
  • refused your application to reduce the amount you pay under a time to pay arrangement
  • set or requested payments at a higher rate than you offered
  • refused your application to have fines written off due to financial, medical and/or personal hardship.
  • refused your application for a Work and Development Order (WDO). 

The Fines Hardship Review Board cannot determine if a fine is valid or if a person is liable for a fine. Read more about requesting a review of a penalty notice or an enforcement order at www.sdro.nsw.gov.au

How do I apply?

Complete an Application for Review of a State Debt Recovery Office Decision and send it to us.

To request an application, assistance in completing your application or to speak to an officer, contact us.

You need to show how your financial, medical and/or personal circumstances prevent you from paying your fines now and in the near future. You must also attach documentation to support your case.

Can someone else apply on my behalf?

Yes, as long as you have given your written consent in an Authority to Act form (PDF).

Do I need to appear before the Fines Hardship Review Board?

No, you are not required to be present and the Board will consider your application based on all the available evidence.

The Board will request SDR to provide all the information used to assess your original application. Any additional information that you have supplied with your application to the Board will also be considered.

What can the Fines Hardship Review Board do?

Under the Fines Act 1996, the Fines Hardship Review Board has authority to direct SDR to:

  • allow you time to pay your fines
  • defer payment of your fines
  • write off your fines.
  • issue or vary a WDO

There is no right of objection or appeal to the Board’s decision.

How long will the decision take?

You will receive written confirmation advising if your case is eligible for referral to the Board when your application has been received You may be requested to provide additional information to support your case. If your case is eligible, you will be advised in writing when the Board will consider your application.

A decision will be made on the day of the Board meeting or further information will be requested by the Board to assist in making a decision. You will be notified in writing of the Board's decision.

What happens to my fines in the meantime?

Once your application to the Fines Hardship Review Board is received, SDR may suspend enforcement action against you pending the Board's decision. The Board may direct SDR to suspend enforcement action pending your review if they think it is appropriate.

What happens if my application is successful?

The Board will direct SDR to allow you time to pay, defer payment of your fines or to write off your fines. You will be notified in writing of the result of your application and SDR is required to implement any decision of the Board.

What happens if my application is not successful?

The Board may agree with the decision made by SDR and direct them to proceed with the action determined in their assessment or may seek an alternative, including however not limited to, payment of the fines in full, a revised time to pay amount or payment being deferred.  You will be notified in writing of the result of your application and SDR is required to implement any decision of the Board.

Can the Fines Hardship Review Board direct SDR to restore my driver licence or vehicle registration?

No. The Board does not have authority to direct SDR to remove NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) restrictions. For more information about having your RMS restrictions lifted, contact SDR.

Can I appeal my penalty notice on hardship grounds?

No. The Fines Hardship Review Board can only review certain decisions by SDR involving enforcement orders. If you are unable to pay your penalty notice, you should contact SDR as soon as possible to see what options are available.