House of Representatives

Crimes Legislation Amendment (Penalty Unit) Bill 2015

Second Reading Speech

Mr Keenan (Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism)

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Penalty Unit) Bill 2015 will ensure that Commonwealth penalties keep pace with inflation and continue to provide an effective deterrent to criminal activity. The bill amends section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914, which applies across the statute book to set the value of monetary penalties in Commonwealth legislation and Territory ordinances. The bill will increase the value of the penalty unit from $170 to $180. This is broadly in line with the increases to the consumer price index since the value was last updated in 2012.

The bill also provides a mechanism for indexing the penalty unit value every three years, beginning in 2018, according to the CPI. By instituting an automatic indexation process, the bill provides an efficient mechanism for maintaining the penalty unit value into the future while still ensuring that value is made clear for members of the public, enforcing agencies and the court. Strong penalties are an essential component of an effective justice system. By maintaining the value of the penalty unit, the bill ensures that Commonwealth offences will continue to operate as intended in deterring unlawful behaviour and punishing offenders.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.