Australian Pollution Laws currently has a tierred structure of offenses and penalties.
Tier 1 offenses include the following;
- An offense of waste disposal if committed without lawful authority, willfully or negligently, in a manner that harms or is likely to harm the environment ; and
- an offense where a person without lawful authority, willfully or negligently causes a substance to leak, spill or otherwise escape in a manner that harms or is likely to harm the environment
The maximum penalty is $1M for a corporation and $250,000 and/or 7 years imprisonment for a natural person
Substantive Tier 2 offenses involve breaches of air, water, noise and other pollution control legislation.
In the case of air and water pollution, the maximum penalties are:
- $125,000 and a maximum penalty of $60,000 per day for a continuing offense -- in the case of a corporation; and
- $60,000 and $30,000 per day for a continuing offense -- in the case of a natural person.
Penalties for noise pollution are lower at:
- $30,000 and, for a continuing offense, a maximum of $3,000 for each day the offense continues -- the case of a corporation; and
- $15000 and, for a continuing offense, $300 for each day the offence continues, in the case of an individual.
Administrative Tier 2 offenses such as contravention of noise abatement orders or directions and failure to furnish information, attract penalties ranging from $1,500 to $30,000.
Tier 3 offenses are designed to identify, penalize and deter minor offenders without the need to resort to the expensive and time-consuming business of litigation.
Tier 3 offences include littering and other minor offenses under clean air, clean water, noise control and pollution control statutes. In New South Wales fines for Tier 3 offenses range from $150 to $600.