The following bodies are all empowered to prosecute corporate crime of one kind or another.

For an overview of their powers, and the prosecution system in Australia generally, see Corporate Crime 101: Prosecutors, Regulators and Informants in Australia.

The agencies that prosecute corporate crime frequently change.  Many of them are nested within government departments, and their names, and the names of the departments in which they sit, change with frustrating frequency.  By way of example, on 1 September 2015, “the regulatory and insurance functions of [NSW] WorkCover [were] assumed by three new discrete organisations: the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) for workers compensation regulation, SafeWork NSW for work health and safety regulation and Insurance and Care NSW (icare) for workers compensation insurance.” Statutory authorities are more stable as a general rule, but there are, sadly, far fewer of them.

This is not a  complete list of regulators; it is a(n incomplete) list of those regulators who have the authority to not only investigate alleged criminal offending of corporations, but also to file criminal charges against corporate accused.

I’ve included links to the enforcement policies of many of these agencies; anyone with an interest in the history of these policies in Australia may wish to review the excellent work by Peter Grabosky and John Braithwaite, Of Manners Gentle: Enforcement Strategies of Australian Business Regulatory Agencies, published in 1986, generously made available by John Braithwaite as a pdf here.

Are you aware of a prosecuting agency that doesn’t appear here?  Let me know.

Australian Federal Agencies

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service  ACBPS notes in its 2013/14 annual report that its enforcement action includes litigation, but there is no further information available.

ACMA (Australian Communications & Media Authority) 

Australian Fisheries Management Authority  AFMA publishes a Compliance strategy.

Australian Federal Police

Australian High Tech Crime Centre

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Prosecution policy here; prosecution outcomes here.

APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority)  APRA prosecutes infrequently; no prosecutions at all were recorded in its 2014 annual report.

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority Its compliance policy is available here.

ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission)   ASIC’s approach to enforcement is available here.  Rather startlingly, in its MOU with the CDPP, ASIC agrees to consult with the CDPP before seeking a civil pecuniary penalty.

Australian Taxation Office  The ATO explains that: “Serious tax-related fraud offences are investigated by the ATO, sometimes in partnership with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Where the evidence warrants it, we refer such cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to consider prosecution.  Summary offences under the Tax Administration Act 1953 are prosecuted by us. These include failing to lodge returns or keep records, making false or misleading statements and not responding to our questions when required.” Further information is provided here.

Biosecurity Australia Compliance policy available here.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority Enforcement Manual available here.

Clean Energy Regulator

COMCARE Is the Commonwealth regulatory agency responsible for administration of the uniform Work Health and Safety legislation at the Commonwealth level.  Its enforcement policy is available here, information about its prosecutions here.

Commonwealth Superannuation Administration

Department of Agriculture

Department of Communications

Department of Defence

Department of Education

Department of Employment

Department of Finance

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of Health – Tobacco Plain Packaging Enforcement Policy February 2013 available here.  The Australian and New Zealand Food Legislation Enforcement Guideline is here.

Department of Health – National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) – Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Department of Human Services

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Department of Social Services

Department of the Environment  Enforcement information here; compliance and enforcement policy here.

Directorate of Military Prosecutions

Foreign Investment Review Board

Fair Work Building & Construction

Fair Work Ombudsman Litigation policy here; Compliance and enforcement policy here.

IP Australia

National Parks and Wildlife Services

National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) Enforcement policy here.

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority Enforcement policy here.

Office of the Information Commissioner

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator Enforcement and Compliance policy here.

Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations

RSPCA – The RSPCA conducts its own summary prosecutions, except in the NT.  The RSPCA finalised 236 prosecutions in the 2013/14 financial year.

Safety, Rehabilitation & Compensation Commission

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

Therapeutic Goods Administration



Children’s Services  Enforcement actions published here.

Consumer Affairs Victoria  Compliance and Enforcement policy here; Court actions (including prosecutions) published here.

Correction (Correctional Services) Vic

Councils (municipal)  Council staff may be appointed under various pieces of legislation to roles that grant them power to enforce legislation – including the initiation and conduct of summary prosecutions.  For example, the Tobacco Act 1987 allows Environmental Health Officers, which are defined to include employees of a council, to enforce the Act: see the enforcement protocol drafted by the Department of Health here; council staff may also prosecute offences under the Country Fire Authority Act, the Planning and Environment Act 1987, etc.  Furthermore, councils may issue infringements for offences under various Acts – e.g. the Food Act 1994 – if an infringement is contested it proceeds to a summary prosecution.

Dairy Food Safety Victoria Enforcement policy available here; general information here.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.  Its Agricultural portfolio, administers a broad spectrum of legislation, including agricultural, animal welfare and fisheries law; the only major prosecution work it conducts seems to be within its Fisheries arm.

Department of Agriculture – Fisheries 

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources – Earth Resources – Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Department of Education and Training  List of enforcement actions (including prosecutions) available here;  there was no mention of enforcement action or prosecutions in its 2013/14 annual report.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – DEPI – General compliance and enforcement policy here; Wildlife compliance and enforcement policy here; water compliance report 2014/15 available here.

Department of Health – Food Safety Unit – Register of convictions under the Food Act 1984 is available here.  See also: the Australian and New Zealand Food Legislation Enforcement Guideline available here.

Department of Health – Radiation Safety (no prosecutions reported for the 2013/14 financial year.)

Department of Health – Safe Drinking Water – They administer, among other things, the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003, which contains offences – though their website doesn’t mention an enforcement function.

Department of Health – Supported Residential Services

Energy Safe Victoria Enforcement policy available here.   It prosecuted 19 cases in the 2013/14 financial year.

Environmental Protection Authority  Compliance and Enforcement policy available here.  Register of completed prosecutions here, and prosecution policy here.

Heritage Victoria and Heritage Council of Victoria – Guideline Enforcement Policy here.

Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board; reference to the possibility of MFB issuing fines for non-compliance with the Building Act 1993 appears here.

Parks Victoria No published compliance policy, but prosecutorial power acknowledged, and use of hidden cameras advised here.

PrimeSafe can, but rarely does, prosecute under the Meat Industry Act 1993 and Seafood Safety Act 2003 – there were no prosecutions in the 2013/14 financial year, for example.

State Revenue Office Compliance policy here.

Taxi Services Commission Enforcement Policy available here.

Transport Safety Victoria – explanation of its approach to enforcement (including prosecution) here.  It’s enforcement policy for marine matters is here.

Victoria Police Corporations can commit most of the offences contained in legislation administered by Victoria Police – as a matter of practice, however, Victoria Police rarely charge corporations.  Also note there is a Licensing and Regulation Division within Victoria Police; Victoria Police officers are frequently enabled by regulatory statutes to prosecute the offences created therein.

Victorian Building Authority Enforcement policy available here.

Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation  Compliance policy available here (indicating that all their prosecutions occur in the summary jurisdiction), Records of prosecutions here.

Victorian Institute of Teaching No published compliance policy; there is an explanation of their investigatory process, which may result in prosecution, here.

WorkSafe Victoria At the time of writing, Worksafe is the only Victorian regulator that regularly files indictable charges.  Their MOU with the OPP is available here.  Its general prosecution guidelines are available here.

The Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission publishes useful data on Victorian “business regulators” every two years: available here.  Un fortunately, the pace of change is such that this data rapidly becomes inaccurate.


New South Wales

You can identify the Minister responsible for administering each NSW Act by reviewing the Allocation of the Administration of Acts instrument, which is frequently updated.

Animal Welfare League NSW see here.

Councils (Municipal) (see note under Victoria – Councils)

Department of Family and Community Services Its enforcement and prosecution unit was established in 2006; prosecution guidelines here.

Department of Industry – Resources and Energy.  According to their website: “Resources & Energy is responsible for addressing any non-compliance with obligations created by the grant of a right to explore, extract or produce petroleum or minerals in New South Wales.” Compliance and Enforcement overview here, policy here.

Department of Planning and Environment Compliance information here.

Department of Primary Industries is home to the following regulatory bodies that can prosecute: Agriculture NSW compliance policy here; Fisheries NSW compliance policy here and here; NSW Food Authority compliance policy here; Biosecurity NSW NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-2021 here; NSW Office of Water compliance policy here; Land and Natural Resources compliance policy here; Environment Sustainability Office. The Department administers certain legislation and runs prosecutions, for

Environmental Protection Agency Established in 2012 as a “statutory authority with a n independent governing Board”.  Compliance Policy here.  According to the Department of Industry, Resources and Energy Unit, “As of 1 July 2015, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the sole authority responsible for compliance and enforcement of all coal seam gas exploration and production activities with the exception of work health and safety issues. This is part of the implementation of the NSW Gas Plan and the recommendations of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, in her Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW.”  This is in addition to its responsibilities dealing with “air emissions, noise, waste, water quality, forestry, contaminated sites, dangerous goods, hazardous materials and pesticides.”

Fair Trading Compliance and Enforcement policy available here.

Independent Transport Safety Regulator

Maritime Safety Enforcement information here.

NSW Crime Commission

New South Wales Police

Office of Environment and Heritage National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Enforcement and Compliance Strategy here. Operational Policy: Protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage here. Powers of Authorised Officers explained here.

Office of Finance, Services and Innovation Compliance and Enforcement Procedure Manual here.

Office of Water Compliance policy here.

RSPCA NSW Inspectorate information here.

SafeWork NSW Compliance information here; prosecution information here.




Councils (Municipal) (see note under Victoria – Councils) Guidelines for councils prosecuting building offences available here.

Crime and Misconduct Commission

Department of Energy and Water Supply Professes in its catalogue of services to have an enforcement function, but there is no information available about that function on its website.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Compliance and Enforcement policy here; prosecution bulletins here.

Department of Justice and Attorney-General – Electrical Safety Office  Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Department of Justice and Attorney-General – Office of Fair Trading Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Department of Natural Resources – Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate Regulatory Enforcement Policy here.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Queensland Competition Authority No mention of enforcement on its website, though it does have enforcement powers.

Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

Safe Food Queensland National Food Regulator guidelines here.

WorkCover Queensland Compliance and Enforcement policy here.


South Australia

Councils (Municipal) (see note under Victoria – Councils)

Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board of South Australia (EECSRSB) Compliance and Enforcement data available here.

Environment Protection Agency SA Prosecution data available here.

Essential Services Commission of South Australia Enforcement Policy here; compliance approach here.

Office of the Technical Regulator Compliance and Enforcement policy here.  According to the Office, it is “responsible for the administration of the safety and technical provisions of the Electricity Act 1996, the Gas Act 1997, the Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000 and the Water Industry Act 2012. These acts ensure the safety of the South Australian community, particularly energy and water consumers and workers, and promote energy efficiency and reliable supplies.”

SafeWork SA Compliance and Enforcement Policy here.

South Australian Police


Western Australia

Building Commission Enforcement information here; Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Consumer Protection Compliance and Enforcement policy here; national policy here.

Department of Health Compliance and Enforcement guidelines available here.

Department of Mines and Petroleum Enforcement policy here.

Department of Transport Enforcement information here.

Environmental Protection Authority (I’ve included the EPA here because in the other Australian jurisdictions, EPAs prosecute. However, there is no information available on their website about any prosecution function.)

Economic Regulation Authority Compliance Enforcement Policy for electricity, gas and water licenses  here.

RSPCA WA Compliance and Enforcement policy here.

Western Australian Police

Work Safe WA Enforcement policy here and here; Prosecution policy here.



Councils (Municipal) (see note under Victoria – Councils)

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment – Compliance and Enforcement policies here; Compliance Policy for the Animal Ethics Committee is available here; Enforcement policy for the Water Management Act 1999 here.

Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Tasmania Enforcement Policy here.

EPA Tasmania – operates as a division of Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, so they share their Compliance and Enforcement policy.

Forest Practices Authority (FPA) Compliance policy available here.

Inland Fisheries Service “Managing trout fishing in Tasmania since 1864” Compliance policy here.

Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator Compliance Enforcement Policy here.

Tasmania Police

WorkSafe Prosecution guidelines here.

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Policing (ACT police services are supplied by the AFP)

Councils (Municipal) (see note under Victoria – Councils)

Environment and Planning Directorate (EPA) Noise Environment Protection Policy here; Contaminated Sites Environment Protection Policy here; General Environment Protection Policy here; Water Quality Environment Protection Policy here.

Fair Trading Compliance and Enforcement information here.


WorkSafe ACT Information about their inspectors here; Information about prosecutions here.