Re-examining the Approach to Alternative Sentencing Orders in New South Wales Pollution Law
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act) contains alternative sentencing orders (ASOs), such as environmental service orders, that can be imposed in addition to, or as an alternative to, a fine or imprisonment. Despite a number of ASOs existing for many years, some have not been used, while others have failed to be utilised to their full potential or have lost favour. The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines regarding the use of ASOs are outdated. In contrast to the general principles of sentencing, the principles the court applies when considering ASOs are not as well-established for some orders. This article examines the use of ASOs in POEO Act prosecutions brought by the EPA in the Land and Environment Court of NSW, focusing particularly on environmental service and payment orders, publication orders and monetary benefit orders. The aim is to examine and encourage further consideration of how the use of ASOs and relevant principles can be refined in the future.