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.
In New South Wales and Queensland, the penalty unit value can also vary depending on which legislation it is cited in.
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. 01/07/2020-30/06/2023
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 $5550.
Last Updated: 5 February 2021