$50k and jail time: How much you’ll be fined for not self-isolating

A sign explaining COVID-19 screening procedure is posted outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital on March 11, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Luis Ascui/Getty Images)

Update: 31 March 2020

As the number of Covid-19 cases climb, the Federal government has tightened restrictions on social gatherings, meaning social meet-ups of any more than two people, indoors or outdoors, could see Aussies on the other side of the law.

NSW’s police commissioner Mick Fuller has warned that those outside of their homes “without reasonable excuse” would be dealt $1,000 on-the-spot fines, while Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said breaching the two-person rule would mean a $1,6000 fine.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said those not complying would be “able to be arrested”.

The Western Australia Government has said it will usher in legislation for on-the-spot fines to be able to be issued, which would be to the tune of $1,000.

Queensland police can issue $1,330 on-the-spot fines for individuals, while SA, the NT and the ACT have flagged a softer approach.

Repeatedly failing to comply with public health orders that require them to self-isolate will see Aussies cop hefty fines and potential jail time.

The health departments of state governments can issue notices of orders to self-isolate. Failing to comply with these orders will mean penalties – but the cost of these fines vary state by state.

Here’s how much you could be fined for failing to comply with public health notices:

NSW: $11,000 fine and/or six months jail time

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said NSW will enforce the Federal government’s requirement for travellers to self-isolate for 14 days.

Those who fail to comply with public health orders can face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $11,000, or both, as well as additional penalties for every day the offence continues.

“I urge the community to do the right thing and obey the decisions and advice of the National and NSW Chief Medical Officers,” Hazzard said.

“But we will be tough if needed, to protect the wider community.”

Queensland: $13,345 fine

Queenslanders who breach the Public Health Act might be subject to enforced quarantine and face fines of up to $13,345.

"That bill was passed in early February and there are penalties for not complying with the notification and that is around $13,000," said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"We have random police checks to make sure people are compliant with that notice."

Western Australia: $50,000 and 12 months’ jail time

Western Australia has the harshest penalties in all of Australia, with those caught breaching the public health act forced to pay up to $50,000 and spend a year behind bars.

WA has declared a state of emergency, with residents facing fines ranging between $5,000 to $50,000.

"This is an emergency situation we are dealing with at the moment and we are doing everything we can to protect the public," said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

South Australia: $25,000

According to South Australia’s Public Health Act 2011, those who fail to comply with an order will be hit with a maximum penalty of $25,000.

Victoria: $20,000

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: A sign directing people to the COVID-19 screening area is posted outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital on March 11, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Seven coronavirus screening clinics are now open in Victoria to help avoid the further spread of COVID-19. 18 people in Victoria have now been diagnosed with the virus, with the Australian total of confirmed cases now at 100.(Photo by Luis Ascui/Getty Images)

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this morning declared a state of emergency across the state to combat Covid-19.

Under the new powers, Victorians who don’t comply with a directive to self-isolate could cop a fine of up to $20,000, and corporations that don’t comply would cop a fine of up to $100,000.

“This is the biggest public health challenge we’ve faced in our lifetimes – that’s why it’s so important that we have the right tools at our disposal to minimise the impact of this virus,” said Victoria minister for health Jenny Mikakos.

Tasmania: $8,400

A spokesman for Tasmania’s Department of Health confirmed with Yahoo Finance that $8,400 was the “upper limit” of what an individual could cop in penalties, but that it would ultimately be determined by the court.

ACT: $8,000

Yahoo Finance has confirmed with ACT’s department of health that the maximum penalty residents will face is $8,000 for failing to comply with health notices.

The Australian Capital Territory has also declared a state of emergency, ACT chief minister Andrew Barr announced.

Northern Territory

Yahoo Finance has contacted the Northern Territory Department of Health for comment.

This story was first published on 16 March 2020.

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