New measures to target polluters’ profits

The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has announced a new framework that will force environmental offenders to hand over any illegal gains from environmental crime.

NSW is the first state in Australia to implement a robust and transparent calculation method to recover the proceeds of environmental crime from offenders, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said.

“Polluters should not be allowed to profit from their environmental offences,” Ms Upton said.

“In addition to any fines, the framework will help determine monetary benefits obtained through illegal profits and the avoidance of operating and capital expenditure, including license and waste disposal fees.

“This will be a deterrent to offenders and an incentive for operators to take proper precautions. We want would-be offenders to be aware that there are now major and wider penalties for environmental crime.”

“We expect other environmental regulators across Australia to follow our lead and implement similar approaches to recovering monetary benefits through the courts,” Ms Upton said.

Under the changes, the NSW Environment Protection Authority can apply to the Court for a monetary benefits order as part of the sentencing package. These orders strip offenders of illegal profits made by committing an offence.

“There is now a clear and transparent method for calculating the amount of the illegal profit that offenders should pay back. It is a fundamental principle that offenders should not profit from crime,” Ms Upton said.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 grants EPA the power to recover monetary benefits.

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