Compliance and enforcement

EPA sanctions


In some cases, due to the nature of a breach of the law, or history of an offender, a sanction or punishment should be applied.

EPA supports responsive sanctioning to complement its compliance and enforcement activities. Responsive sanctioning uses punishment constructively to improve environmental outcomes. It is particularly relevant to the use of enforceable undertakings and court-imposed alternative penalty orders.

Alternative penalty orders allow the court to require an offender to carry out a specified project to restore or enhance the environment, rather than issue a fine or warning.

The principles governing responsive sanctioning aim to:

  • be responsive and consider what is appropriate for the particular offender to change their behaviour
  • calculate the commercial advantage or economic benefit obtained by an offender through delayed or avoided compliance and eliminate it
  • be proportionate to the nature of the offence and the harm caused
  • make good or reduce the harm caused by a breach, where appropriate
  • act as a specific deterrent to future non-compliance by an offender or company director
  • act as a general deterrent by educating others about the potential consequences of breaking the law.

EPA takes an escalating approach to sanctions, ranging from a warning as the least severe to a prosecution and licence or permit revocation as the most severe. Further information on EPA’s approach to sanctioning is available in the Compliance and Enforcement Policy and the links below.

Page last updated on 1 Sep 2014