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Background

A penalty unit is the basis for determining the penalty value associated with offences under most state laws, local governments’ local laws and Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued under these laws.

The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Act), administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, provides a legislative mechanism for annual indexation increases to the value of a penalty unit.

After the percentage indexation is applied, the penalty unit amount must be rounded down to the nearest coinable amount (i.e. five cents) and prescribed in the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 (the Regulation).

Current value of the penalty unit

Pursuant to section 5A of the Act, the prescribed value of a penalty unit will increase by 0% commencing on 1 July 2020.

Accordingly, from 1 July 2020:

  • the value of a penalty unit for most offences under state legislation will be $133.45.
  • the value of a local law penalty unit for most local governments will also be $133.45.

This amount 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.

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 $133.00 (rounded down from $133.45);
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of two penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $266.00 (rounded down from $266.90);
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of three penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $400.00 (rounded down from $400.35);
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of four penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $533.00 (rounded down from $533.80);
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of five penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $667.00 (rounded down from $667.25);
  • if an infringement notice prescribes a penalty of ten penalty units the monetary value of the penalty is $1334.00 (rounded down from $1334.50).

The amount of $133.45 applies to most local governments, excluding those which have previously chosen to 'opt-out' of increases.  Those local governments, as listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation, are as follows:

  • 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 is not 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, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.

Historic value of the penalty unit

  • The value of the penalty unit for previous years was:
  • From 1 July 2019: $133.45
  • From 1 July 2018: $130.55
  • From 1 July 2017: $125.15
  • From 1 July 2016: $121.90
  • From 1 July 2015: $117.80
  • From 1 July 2014: $113.85