Unpaid community work

You may be eligible to have an unpaid fine or penalty converted to unpaid community work if you have a debt registered with us. This has previously been referred to as community service.

Performing unpaid community work may be available to you if you are in financial hardship and can't afford to pay your debt in full or by regular instalments.

The order converting a debt is called a work and development order.

Work and development orders

The current rate is $30 per hour and you can work up to 33 hours per month. This means that if your total debt with us is $300, for example, and you have been approved a work and development order, you will need to do 10 hours of unpaid community work to pay your debt.

If you don't complete all the hours of unpaid community work, the work and development order may be revoked and you will have to pay the outstanding debt. You may also find it difficult to obtain an order on other debts in the future.

Some debts, such as compensation and restitution, can't be included in a work and development order. You need to pay any debts that can't be included in full or apply for an instalment plan.

Who can apply

To be eligible for a work and development order:

  • you must be able to undertake unpaid community work (including being able to get to and from the worksite)
  • the debt must be registered in your name, and you must provide a residential address for the term of the order
  • you must be unable to pay your debt
  • you must meet one of the following 2 criteria for financial hardship.

1. Pension or benefits

You receive a full service pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) or one of the following Centrelink benefits:

  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Youth Allowance.

You will need to provide a copy of a recent benefit statement (not older than 4 weeks).

2. Household income

Your total household income (before tax) is less than the following amounts.

Household type Annual income Weekly income
Single $32,479 $625
Single + 1 child $38,975 $750
Single + 2 children $43,306 $833
Single + 3 children $47,636 $916
Single + 4 children $51,967 $999
Couple $41,140 $791
Couple + 1 child $47,636 $916
Couple + 2 children $51,967 $999
Couple + 3 children $56,297 $1,083
Couple + 4 children $60,628 $1,166
Each additional child $4,331 $83
Each additional adult $8,661 $167

You will need to provide pay slips for the past 4 weeks, and bank statements for the past 3 months, for all adults in your house who have a financial relationship with you.

You also need to provide evidence of any dependants, such as a copy of their Medicare card.

Different eligibility requirements may apply for people living in certain regional and remote communities. Phone us on 1300 365 635 for more information.

How to apply

If you meet the above eligibility criteria and would like to apply for a work and development order, contact SPER. We will assess your financial situation to determine if you are eligible.

We will not approve an order if you have the means to pay your debt. Contact us to discuss options to resolve your debt.


If your work and development order is approved, you must:

  • perform your duties and allocated hours
  • notify us if your address or contact details change.

If your circumstances change and you can pay the debt, advise your work and development order supervisor and contact us to make your payment or apply for an instalment plan.

If you're injured while performing unpaid community work, notify your supervisor who will advise you of your entitlements. You won't receive credit towards your SPER debt if you're unable to work for a period of time.