Penalties continue their upward climb

Published On 02/06/2015 | By David Crino | Consumer protection, Enforcement, Reform

As many of you may recall, the value of a Commonwealth penalty unit had its first increase in 15 years in 2012, from $110 to $170.

A bill is currently before Parliament which proposes to raise the value again, this time a more modest jump of $10 to $180.  If the bill is passed, the change will come into effect on 31 July 2015.

As we previously mentioned, curiously most substantive offences in the Competition and Consumer Act, including the Australian Consumer Law are not set by reference to penalty units.  However, if the increase is passed:

  • the majority of penalties attaching to infringement notices under s 134C will attract a penalty of $2,160 for an individual, $10,800 for a corporation and $108,000 for a listed corporation; and
  • a number of procedural offences, such as a refusal or failure to comply with a request for information, documents or evidence issued by the ACCC under s 155, or giving false or misleading information or evidence in response to such a notice, will attract a penalty of up to $3,600 or 12 months imprisonment under section 155(6A).

Going forward, the bill proposes that the value of a penalty unit would be increased every three years, being indexed to inflation.  This is similar to the current regime that applies to penalty units in Victoria, which are indexed annually.

Photo credit: 401(K) 2013 / Foter / CC BY-SA

About The Author

is a solicitor in the competition litigation practice of King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney.

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