The significant increase in penalty amounts have again refocused attention on the importance of sound environmental management for both licenced and non licenced operators.
These increased penalty amounts are intended to:
- be proportionate to the seriousness, harm and nature of an offence
- provide an effective deterrent to committing environmental offences and re-offending and
- reflect community expectations regarding the financial penalties that apply to environmental offences.
For the ten most serious environmental offences under the POEO Act, the penalty notice amounts will be:
- $15,000 for a corporation and $7,500 for an individual, when these are issued by the EPA and other government agencies (where these are prescribed for particular offences) and
- $8000 for a corporation and $4000 for an individual, when these are issued by local councils.
For the 19 other serious environmental offences, the penalty notice amounts will be:
- $8000 for a corporation and $4000 for an individual, when these are issued by the EPA and other government agencies and
- $4000 for a corporation and $2000 for an individual, when these are issued by local councils.
This tiered approach reflects the shared regulatory responsibilities under the POEO Act where the EPA regulates larger, higher risk activities while local councils regulate smaller industries or individuals. The offences and new penalty notice amounts for key offences can be found on the NSW EPA website.
Some other penalty notice amounts under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 and Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008 have been increased by between 50 and 100 per cent.