In appropriate cases, the EPA can apply to the Court for a monetary benefit order (MBO) to be imposed on an offender as part of the sentencing package. MBOs strip offenders of the financial advantage they gained from breaking environmental laws. MBOs are made in addition to any other penalty the Court imposes for the crime (for example a fine, publication order, order to pay prosecutor’s legal costs).
MBOs provide a strong deterrent for possible future offenders and an incentive for operators to take proper precautions to protect the environment. They help level the playing field so operators who do the right thing are not financially disadvantaged.
While the EPA has had this power since the introduction of the POEO Act, a robust and standardised approach to calculate and recover monetary benefits in appropriate cases will now be applied.
Guidelines on recovering monetary benefits from environmental offenders
The Guidelines on recovering monetary benefits (PDF 460KB) explain what monetary benefits are, when the EPA will seek monetary benefit orders, how the EPA will investigate and calculate monetary benefits and other details about the project.
Calculating monetary benefits
The EPA has engaged expert financial accountants to develop a Protocol for calculating monetary benefits (PDF 669KB) which describes the standard method to be used for the calculation.
On 25 January 2019, the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 was amended by the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Calculating Amount of Monetary Benefits) Regulation 2019. This amendment formally prescribes the Protocol as the method for calculating monetary benefits (see new clause 101A). The Protocol was published in the NSW Government Gazette on 1 February 2019.
The EPA has also released the NEAT Model, (© Environment Protection Authority Victoria 2019), which is a user-friendly Excel tool that enables non-accountants to run monetary benefit calculations.
Frequently asked questions
These frequently asked questions are a result of consultation with stakeholders at seminars and industry forums.