Print pagePrint this page Email pageEmail us

Civil Penalties

To ensure compliance with the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), WEA has the power to not only suspend or cancel an accreditation; it can also apply for a civil penalty order for some breaches.

Civil penalty orders can be applied for by WEA in relation to certain sections of the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 (the Act) which are civil penalty provisions.

If the Federal Court is satisfied that a person has contravened a civil penalty provision, the Federal Court may order the person to pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty.

The Act sets out the maximum pecuniary penalties for each civil penalty provision.

Penalty units are set by the Crimes Act 1914 and are currently set at $110 per unit.

The following outlines the penalties for non-compliance with the Scheme:

Exporting bulk wheat without accreditation

Under section 7 of the Act, an exporter cannot export bulk wheat from Australia without holding an accreditation granted by WEA.

Contraventions relating to the export of bulk wheat without accreditation attract a maximum civil penalty order of 3000 penalty units for a body corporate, which is equivalent to $330,000, and 600 penalty units for a person other than a body corporate, which is equivalent to $66,000.

Compliance with conditions of accreditation

Under section 18 of the Act, an accredited exporter must comply with the following conditions of accreditation:
  • to provide a written notice to WEA if a new executive officer is appointed during the period of accreditation
  • conditions imposed under the Scheme by WEA at the time of accreditation or renewal of accreditation
  • further conditions imposed under the Scheme by WEA during the accreditation period
  • to give WEA an Annual Export Report
  • to give WEA an Annual Compliance Report
  • to give WEA a report about a notifiable matter

Contraventions relating to the following conditions of accreditation attract a maximum civil penalty order of 1500 penalty units for a body corporate, which is equivalent to $165,000, and 300 penalty units for a person other than a body corporate, which is equivalent to $33,000:

  • to give WEA a report about a notifiable matter
  • giving required information, or producing required documents, to WEA (section 25 of the Act)
  • complying with a requirement by WEA for an external audit (section 31 of the Act)

Contraventions relating to the following conditions of accreditation attract a maximum civil penalty order of 1000 penalty units for a body corporate, which is equivalent to $110,000, and 200 penalty units for a person other than a body corporate, which is equivalent to $22,000:

  • to provide a written notice to WEA if a new executive officer is appointed during the period of accreditation
  • conditions imposed under the Scheme by WEA at the time of accreditation or renewal of accreditation
  • further conditions imposed under the Scheme by WEA during the accreditation period
  • to give WEA an Annual Export Report
  • to give WEA an Annual Compliance Report

WEA has the power to cancel or suspend an accreditation where it is satisfied that an accredited exporter has not complied with a condition of its accreditation.

Providing false or misleading information to WEA

If WEA is satisfied that an accredited exporter provided false or misleading information to WEA in an application for accreditation or renewal, WEA must cancel that accreditation.

If WEA is satisfied that an accredited exporter provided false or misleading information to WEA (otherwise than in an application for accreditation or renewal of accreditation), WEA may cancel or suspend that accreditation.

It may be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995 to provide WEA with false or misleading information in connection with an application for accreditation or renewal of accreditation.

Post-cancellation reports

Under section 21 of the Act, if WEA cancels an exporter’s accreditation the exporter must give WEA a post-cancellation export report and a post-cancellation compliance report.

Contraventions relating to this requirement attract a maximum civil penalty order of 1000 penalty units for a body corporate, which is equivalent to $110,000, and 200 penalty units for a person other than a body corporate, which is equivalent to $22,000.