New South Wales police fined 3,628 children between 2020-22 for Covid-related ‘offences’.

Most were from low socio-economic LGAs.

Of these, the highest fines for breaching Public Health Orders were $5,000, with the majority fixed at $1,000.

This is, a recent report said, way above the $1,100 maximum, set by the NSW children’s court for any child found guilty of an offence.

The 2023, Children and COVID-19 Fines in NSW report, funded by Universities, and a range of legal advocacy groups, accused police of setting trust in law enforcement back decades.

‘Fine amounts for NSW COVID-19 PHO breaches were far too high for children to pay, and this caused significant hardship and distress,’ they argued.

‘High fixed fines were unfair in that they excessively punished those with little or no means to pay the debt.’

This is, they added, a policing failure.

‘Police failed to take into account how a child’s special circumstances, such as their mental health condition, cognitive impairment or disability, or living in an unsafe, home environment, meant that they had legitimate reasons to be away from their homes.’

Adding salt to the national wound, requests to ‘withdraw the fines’ have been refused.

‘The NSW Government – at the time of publishing – had not agreed to the request to remove all COVID-19 penalty notices.’

This is despite their compelling case’s examples of other states and countries, excluding children from fines for breaching PHOs.

Slamming the Covid-era governance as ‘heavy-handed, and unfair’, advocacy groups argued:

‘Through the policing of PHOs, children who would not ordinarily come into contact with the criminal justice system were ensnared in its net.’

Consequently, heavy-handed PHO policing had ‘entrenched existing hostile relationships between police and over-policed sections of the community’.

The Covid kid coalition’s findings concluded with 12 recommendations, to improve communication, more discretion in the field, and reducing maximum fines for kids to $40.


‘The NSW Government should convert any COVID-19 penalty notices issued to children that are still outstanding to Fines Act cautions or alternatively, withdraw them.’

The report was collated at the request of Redfern Legal Centre (RLC), the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), and the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited.

Responding, NSW police lectured Monica O’Shea of Epoch News, reminding the report’s authors, that compliance was essential to keeping ‘the community safe from Covid’.

‘The virulent nature and serious illness from the Delta variant of COVID-19 resulted in rapidly evolving Public Health Orders.’

‘Outside of these identified areas of concern, police still had the ability to respond to breaches of relevant Public Health Orders by issuing infringement notices – regardless of the age of the person involved,’ NSW police added.

Coming to their defence, the Police Federation of Australia, explained, ‘Extra law enforcement duties during COVID-19 took its toll on frontline police.’

Stressed, not just stretched, law enforcement officers, allegedly wrestled with having to enforce ‘mandated COVID-19 restrictions’ for both personal and professional reasons, the PFA said.

The report’s findings deserve a wider audience, and vindicate much of what myself, and other Caldron Pool contributors have been writing about since ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ turned into totalitarianism.

Aside from the report’s sloppy implications – such as ‘lockdown’ policing was racism – its authors make a strong argument about the unnecessary financial burden ‘pandemic’ policing placed on economically ‘disadvantaged’ members of the community.

The same argument holds true for the majority of Australians whose livelihoods were held hostage by bureaucratic, ‘it’s not compulsory-but-it-is’, ‘no jab, no job mandates’.

The report’s authors, and financial backers would do well to remember:

Line up, salute and goosestep in unison with public health orders, or lose your house, hearth, and home, hit all demographics.

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