Increase in the value of a penalty unit
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform local governments that:
- the value of a penalty unit for most offences under state legislation will increase to $113.85 effective from 1 July 2014; and
- the value of a local law penalty unit for most local governments will also increase to $113.85 effective from 1 July 2014.
The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Act) has been amended to introduce a legislative mechanism to allow, if the government decides, for an annual increase to the penalty unit value applicable to most state laws, the local laws of most local governments and the Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) under these laws.
Under the amendments to the Act, the penalty unit value may be increased by 3.5% per annum or another rate determined by the Treasurer (the percentage change) and published in the gazette by 31 March each year. The penalty unit amount with the percentage change applied will be rounded down to the nearest coinable amount (i.e. 5 cents) and prescribed in a regulation.
It is understood that it is the Government's intention to use the new mechanism to annually index the penalty unit value and that the regulation prescribing the new penalty unit amount would take effect on 1 July each year.
On 17 April 2014, the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2005 (the Regulation) was amended to increase the value of a penalty unit to $113.85 effective from 1 July 2014. This increase is applicable to:
- most state laws and PINS under these laws; and
- the local laws and PINS under the local laws of local governments not listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation.
The increase to $113.85 will only apply to offences committed on or after 1 July 2014.
Under the Act, when the penalty unit value is applied to offences enforced through the issuing of a PIN, the amount of the PIN is to be rounded down to the nearest whole dollar. For example:
- If an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of one penalty unit the monetary value of the penalty is $113.00 (rounded down from $113.85);
- If an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of two penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $227.00 (rounded down from $227.70);
- If an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of three penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $341.00 (rounded down from $341.55);
- If an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of ten penalty units the monetary value of the penalty fine is $1138.00 (rounded down from $1138.50).
The increase in the value of a local law penalty unit applies to all local governments, excluding those which have previously chosen to 'opt-out' of increases and are listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation:
- Aurukun Shire Council
- Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council
- Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council
- Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council
- Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council
- Quilpie Shire Council
- Torres Shire Council
- Torres Strait Island Regional Council
- Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council
- Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council
- Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council.
The value of a local law penalty unit for the local governments listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation will remain at $75 and will not be subject to annual indexation.
If any of these local governments wish to opt-in to future increases and align with the standard (indexed) penalty unit value, please contact the Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience.