Kylie Beveridge of LawCompare explains the Penalty Tracker app:

It can be a tricky exercise to track down the value of a penalty unit in a given Australian jurisdiction.

In some States and Territories, a penalty unit amount is written into legislation and its value is changed by amendment in Parliament. In other jurisdictions, a mechanism is included in the legislation to allow for the value of a penalty unit to be increased in line with inflation. This increase can occur each financial year or on such periodic basis as stated in the legislation.

Which legislative provisions govern penalty units?

  • Australian Capital Territory: Legislation Act 2001 (ACT), s 133
  • Commonwealth: Crimes Act 1914 (Cth), s 4AA
  • New South Wales: Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), s 17
  • Northern Territory: Penalty Units Act 2009 (NT), s 6; Penalty Unit Regulations (NT), reg 2
  • Queensland: Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld), ss 5 and 5A; Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2005 (Qld), ss 2 and 3 and Sch 2
  • Tasmania: Penalty Units and Other Penalties Act 1987 (Tas), ss 4 and 4A
  • Victoria: Monetary Units Act 2004 (Vic), ss 5 and 6

How does the value of a penalty unit increase?

  • Australian Capital Territory: By legislative amendment to Legislation Act 2001 (ACT), s 133. The value of a penalty unit must be reviewed every four years by the Attorney-General.
  • Commonwealth: The value of a penalty unit will be indexed according to the CPI on 1 July 2020 and each third 1 July following that date.
  • New South Wales: By legislative amendment to Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), s 17.
  • Northern Territory: The value of a penalty unit is indexed each financial year according to the CPI.
  • Queensland: The value of a penalty unit may be increased by 3.5% p.a. or such other rate as determined by the Treasurer before 31 March each year.
  • Tasmania: The value of a penalty unit is indexed each financial year according to the CPI. The penalty unit is published in the Gazette before 1 June each year.
  • Victoria: The value of a penalty unit is indexed each financial year according to the CPI.
    Penalty Calculator

The LawCompare Penalty Calculator is a practical online tool, which determines the penalty unit value and then calculates the maximum penalty (in dollars).

Example: Strict liability offence under s 246 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth).

1. Select the relevant jurisdiction: Commonwealth

2. Select the relevant period during which the offence was committed, e.g. 01/07/2015-30/06/2017

3. Enter the maximum penalty (in units): 25

The Penalty Calculator identifies the penalty unit value, multiplies it by the maximum penalty (in units) and states that the maximum penalty for this offence is $4500.

The Penalty Calculator can be accessed via this link

Earlier this year, LawCompare launched its LawMap app.

This innovative research tool takes the traditional legislation comparison table and integrates it with modern app technology.

LawMap enables legal professionals to get prepared in advance of legislative reforms coming into force. The app incorporates search and browse functionality, editorial notes, and links.

Its first module, Personal Insolvency Law Reform, assists users to quickly locate sections of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) which will be amended, inserted, repealed and replaced by the Insolvency Law Reform Act 2016 (Cth).

The LawMap app was created by LawCompare, a new division of CorrelLink Pty Ltd which specialises in developing Android and iPhone apps.


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