Civil penalty calculation policy
Revised Civil Penalty Calculations Policy
The EPA’s policy for the Calculation of Civil Penalties (the Calculations Policy) was developed in 2006 and reviewed in July 2013, August 2015 and August 2018 following key stakeholder consultation and was subsequently amended based on the outcome of those reviews and consultation phases.
Section 104A of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (EP Act) allows the EPA to seek a civil penalty from an alleged offender in respect of certain alleged contraventions of the EP Act, as an alternative to criminal prosecution.
The Calculations Policy provides a framework for calculating fair and consistent penalties while balancing the need for deterrence, accountability and equity. Participation in negotiations is voluntary and not to be taken as an admission of liability.
The issue that was the subject of most discussion during the 2013 review of the Calculations Policy and consultation was whether the monetary value of negotiated civil penalties should be increased by increasing the foundation penalty by 20% to take into consideration the cost savings of avoiding court proceedings and possible conviction.
After considering the 2013 review submissions the EPA introduced a staged increase of the foundation penalty. The penalty was increased by 10% in 2013 and an additional 10% increase was implemented on 1 August 2015. The staged increases ensured the continued participation in negotiations and provided a managed increase of the penalty. No further increases have been made as a result of the 2018 review.
The foundation penalty for category 1 offences remains at 70% of the maximum penalty relevant to the offence in the Act and for category 2 and 3 offences remain at 45% of the maximum penalty.
The EPA will continue to review the policy to ensure that it meets its objective of providing a transparent and consistent method of calculating negotiated civil penalties. The next review of the policy will commence within 5 years.