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2021 Amendments to the Regulatory Powers Act

The Regulatory Powers (Standardisation Reform) Act 2021 (the 2021 amendments) makes minor amendments to the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (Regulatory Powers Act). The 2021 amendments:

  • enable the use of monitoring powers in relation to matters, rather than only in relation to a provision, or information given in compliance with a provision; and
  • update the description of offence provisions, and the description of provisions relating to infringement notices which might apply to contravention of both a civil penalty and criminal offence provisions.

These amendments commenced on 27 March 2021.

The monitoring of matters

The 2021 amendments extend an agency or regulator’s power to monitor matters beyond direct compliance with particular legislative provisions. An agency or regulator can now monitor whether a circumstance exists, and for patterns that may be indicators of non-compliance with an Act.

As the Regulatory Powers Act only has effect where Acts are drafted or amended to trigger its provisions, this expanded scope will only apply where provisions in triggering Acts nominate particular matters subject to monitoring. As such the amendments have no automatic effect in existing regulatory regimes.

Any expansion of the Regulatory Powers Act monitoring powers to matters will require legislative amendment to define the matters in question, and should be accompanied by appropriate explanation and justification in the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

Other minor amendments

The 2021 amendments make minor and technical amendments relating to infringement notices, the description of offence provisions and multiple consequence provisions. These amendments ensure consistency throughout the Regulatory Powers Act and respond to changing drafting practices in the description of multiple consequence provisions. These amendments do not alter the effect of the law, but clarify its current intended application for all contexts.

Further information can be found in Schedule 1 of the 2021 amendments.