NSW Police have been mistakenly handing out COVID-19 fines up to $3,000 to people who were engaging in lawful recreation activities. These activities are permissible under the public health orders.
Outside an area of concern, citizens may:
- Sit in a park by themselves or with one other person or nominated person or household members;
- eat in an outdoors public space by themselves or with one other person or nominated person or household members; and
- sit in their car, alone.
Redfern Legal Centre has issued a notice to community workers and lawyers to inform the public to seek an appeal of these COVID fines via Revenue NSW.
The COVID-19 fines legislation
The relevant legislation is Schedule 2, clause 20 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order. It allows for a person (excluding areas of concern) to leave their place of residence to undertake exercise or outdoor recreation with one other person or members of the same household within a 5km radius or LGA. The gathering rules allow for outside gathering of no more than two people or household members. However, see our Fact Sheet for other exceptions.
Although the order does not define “recreation”, the NSW Government website clearly states that “recreations allow people to sit for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors.” See: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/changes#sport-recreation-and-entertainment.
How to appeal a COVID fine
First, make sure you check the relevant legislation at the date that you received the fine. This is because the legislation is changing quickly. Thus, it’s important to make sure that you got a fine under the correct laws. However, if you’re unsure, contact us for a free consultation with our criminal defence solicitors.
To appeal a fine, you need to access Revenue NSW online and request a review. The link to request a review is here: https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/fines-and-fees/request-a-review
The current laws are outlined in this factsheet from Redfern Legal Centre.