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Increase in the value of a penalty unit

Purpose

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 $121.90 effective from 1 July 2016; and
  • the value of a local law penalty unit for most local governments will also increase to $121.90 effective from 1 July 2016.

Background

The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Act) provides a legislative mechanism to allow 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.

The penalty unit value may be increased by 3.5% per annum or other 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 must be rounded down to the nearest coinable amount (i.e. 5 cents) and prescribed in the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 (the Regulation).

Overview

The Penalties and Sentences Amendment Regulation (No.1) 2016 (SL No. 39 of 2016) was made by the Governor in Council on 28 April 2016 and notified on the Queensland legislation website on 29 April 2016. It amends the Regulation to increase the value of a penalty unit to $121.90 effective from 1 July 2016. 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 $121.90 will only apply to offences committed on or after 1 July 2016.

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 $121.00 (rounded down from $121.90)
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of two penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $243.00 (rounded down from $243.80)
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of three penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $365.00 (rounded down from $365.70)
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of four penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $487.00 (rounded down from $487.60)
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of ten penalty units the monetary value of the penalty fine is $1219.00 (not rounded down as $1219.00 is an exact dollar figure).

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
  • 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 Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

Further information

Any further enquiries on this matter should be addressed to:

Bill Hastie
Manager (Local Government Policy)
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
P: (07) 3452 6710
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.