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Enforcement options
If an authorised officer identifies something that needs to be rectified, they have a variety of enforcement tools to help achieve compliance. These include:

  • Reinspection
  • Warning letters
  • Improvement notice
  • Prohibition order
  • Penalty notice
  • Prosecution

Warning Letters
Where there is evidence that minor breaches of the Public Health Act and Regulation have occurred, warning letters may be issued at the discretion of the Authorised Officer. Warning letters will detail the exact nature of the offence, required remedial action, cite relevant clauses of legislation, specify the maximum penalty for the offence and the intention of Council to enforce the legislation.

Improvement Notices
Authorised Officers may serve Improvement Notices under Section 42 of the Public Health Act 2010. An Improvement Notice is a direction that requires a specified enforceable requirement to be complied with within a period of 72 hours (or such longer period as specified in the notice) after the service of the notice on the occupier or person. An Improvement Notice must specify the specific legislative provision to which it relates and may specify the particular action to be taken by a person. The Improvement Notice must specify the date by which compliance must be achieved.

Improvement Notices are differentiated from warning letters in that they are a statutory notice that may lead to the issue of a Prohibition Order under Section 45 of the Public Health Act 2010.

The issue of an Improvement Notice does not preclude the issue of a Penalty Infringement Notice nor the institution of court proceedings in circumstances where these types of actions may be warranted.

Improvement Notices come with a set fee which is raised under the clause 97 of the Public Health Regulation 2012. The fee changes each financial year.

Prohibition Order
Prohibition Orders are made under Section 45 of the Public Health Act 2010 and may be issued where an Improvement Notice has been issued and there has been a failure to comply with the Improvement Notice by the date of completion or where the issue of a Prohibition Order is necessary to prevent or mitigate a serious danger to public health.

A Prohibition Order will direct the occupier of a regulated system not to use the system until the prohibition order has been complied with and a certificate of clearance has been issued.

A Prohibition Order will remain in place until a Certificate of Clearance is issued following a written request for an inspection. The Prohibition Order must be displayed in a prominent location so that it is visible for customers and employees to see.

Failing to comply with the direction of a Prohibition Order can result in prosecution and significant penalties.

Penalty Notice
A Penalty Infringement Notice is a notice to the effect that the person to whom it is directed has committed a specified offence and that, if the person does not wish to have the matter dealt with by a court, the person may pay the specified amount for the offence within a specified time.

A payment of a penalty notice is not an admission of liability and the person is not liable to any further proceedings for the alleged offence.

Schedule 4 of the Public Health Regulation 2012 specifies the penalty notice offences. The penalties range from $110 - $3300.

Prosecution will normally be reserved for the more serious breaches where breaches of the Public Health Act have occurred. Matters may be heard in the Local or Supreme Court.

Singleton Council
PO Box 314 Singleton NSW 2330
Ph: 02 6578 7290