The Federal Parliament passed new laws earlier this week to increase the monetary value of a “penalty unit” from $110 to $170.1

Penalty units are used as a standard measure to determine the financial penalties payable for a range of Commonwealth offences, including those contained in the Corporations Act 2001, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and the Fair Work Act 2009. The CCA also contains offences which incur fixed pecuniary penalties, rather than a penalty calculated by reference to penalty units.

The value of a penalty unit had not increased since 1997, and this 55% increase was said to have been implemented to take into account inflation and to ensure that penalties retained their deterrent value.

The Attorney-General will also now be required to conduct a review of the value of a penalty unit every three years.

The table below sets out some examples of the increased maximum financial penalties for various Commonwealth offences. Some of these offences may also result in imprisonment.

Click here to view table.