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Guidelines on the use of infringement notices by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

1. Introduction

An infringement notice is a financial penalty that APRA may impose on entities for certain contraventions of the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (FSCODA) and the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act). 

2. Circumstances in which APRA may serve infringement notices

APRA will consider serving infringement notices in circumstances where it has reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has contravened an applicable provision of FSCODA or the SIS Act. 

3. Penalties APRA may impose

Under the SIS Act, the penalty specified in an infringement notice must be:

  • one-fifth of the maximum pecuniary penalty that a Court could impose on the entity for the offence or offences; or
  • one-fortieth of the maximum civil penalty that a Court could impose for the contravention or contraventions of a civil penalty provision.

Under FSCODA, the penalty specified in an infringement notice must be the lesser of one-fifth of the maximum penalty that a Court could impose for the offence (or offences) or 50 penalty units.

In the case of a corporation, APRA may be able to impose penalties that are five times greater than the maximum penalty that can be imposed on a natural person convicted of the same offence (see s 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)). 

4. Timeframe in which an infringement notice must be served

APRA has up to 12 months from the date of the alleged offence in which to serve an infringement notice.

5. Options for responding to an infringement notice

Payment of penalty

If an entity decides to pay the penalty specified in an infringement notice by the due date, any liability for the alleged contravention (or contraventions) is taken to be discharged. Payment of the penalty is also not taken as an admission by the entity of guilt or liability.

Application for extension of time to pay penalty

The entity may request that APRA extend the time for payment of the penalty specified in the infringement notice.

Elect to leave matter for APRA to prosecute or take other action

If the entity decides not to pay the penalty, or informs APRA that it would prefer to defend itself in Court, APRA may exercise its discretion to refer the matter for prosecution (or in the case of certain provisions in the SIS Act, commence civil penalty proceedings).

Application for withdrawal

The entity may make written representations to APRA seeking withdrawal of an infringement notice. In deciding whether to withdraw an infringement notice, APRA will consider any written representations seeking the withdrawal.  APRA may also consider: 

  • Whether a court has previously imposed a penalty or convicted a person of an offence for a contravention of the relevant Act;
  • The circumstances of the alleged contravention;
  • Whether the person has previously been served with, and paid, an infringement notice in respect of an alleged contravention of the relevant Act;
  • Any other relevant matter.

APRA may also withdraw an infringement notice on its own initiative.

If an infringement notice is withdrawn but a penalty has already been paid, APRA must refund the amount paid.

6. Publication of infringement notices

APRA will maintain a register of infringement notices on its external website. This will generally record APRA’s decision to serve an infringement notice and details of the alleged conduct.  APRA may also decide to issue a press release in relation to the decision to serve an infringement notice.

APRA will, however, consider financial stability considerations and the particular circumstances of a case before deciding whether and when to publish a media release and/or include any matter on its public register.

7. Further information

For further information regarding the infringement notice regimes under FSCODA and the SIS Act, please see: