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The Commonwealth Government has passed the Crimes Amendment (Penalty Unit) Bill 2017.  Taking effect from 1 July 2017, the Bill will see the value of a penalty unit increase and, by extension, the maximum civil penalties against corporate entities and individuals for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act).

The penalty unit and maximum civil penalties will increase as follows:


Before 1 July 2017

After 1 July 2017

Penalty Unit



Maximum Penalty for a Corporate Entity



Maximum Penalty for an Individual



The above maximum penalties apply to single breaches of civil penalty provisions under the FW Act—multiple breaches can result in multiple civil penalties being imposed. Civil penalty provisions within the FW Act include:

-                 compliance with the National Employment Standards, modern awards and enterprise agreements

-                 protection of workplace rights and other general protections

-                 issues associated with right of entry, and

-                 protected and unprotected industrial action.

The increases will only affect contraventions that occur on or after 1 July 2017. Contraventions occurring before this time will be subject to the penalty unit in place when the contravention occurred.

The next Commonwealth penalty units increase is scheduled for 2020.

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