The value of a penalty unit and fee unit was decided a few years ago, then attached to a fixed rate of indexation. The value of each unit is usually published in the Government Gazette.
The most recent Gazetted increase was on 29 March 2012 in G13 of 2012 at page 655. The values from 1 July were going to be $125.19 and $12.53 respectively.
But not now. The Monetary Units Amendment Bill 2012 commences operation on 1 July and amends s 11 of the Monetary Units Acts 2004 to fix penalty units at a higher rate:
Penalty unit = $140.84
Fee unit = $ 12.53
Section 11(2) provides that any reference in the Act or any other Act or statutory rule to the value of a fee unit or penalty unit calculated in accordance with section 5(3) is to be treated for the financial year commencing on 1 July 2012 as a reference to the value of a fee unit or penalty unit as provided by new section 11(1).
Last year’s figures were $122.14 and $11.95, respectively. During the Second Reading the Treasurer said,
‘This change is one part of the longstanding commitment by this government to reduce offending in our community’.
The original intention of indexation was to provide for regular automatic increases that weren’t subject to political interference. These increases are not as great as the Herald-Sun law reports originally claimed, but are certainly greater than the originally scheduled increase. The government denies it is simply revenue raising though.
The Office of Chief Parliamentary Counsel maintains up-to-date details of fee and penalty units on its site here.