Government and Regulatory Prosecutions

Government and Regulatory Prosecutions


In Queensland, there are several State and Local Government bodies that are charged with the enforcement of laws and requirements. These can include investigations or prosecutions for such things as:

  • Marine incidents and maritime safety prosecutions;
  • Workplace health and safety investigations and prosecutions;
  • Prosecutions for breaches of the Food Act;  and
  • Environmental prosecutions.

At Aitken Whyte Lawyers we have established experience in acting for individuals and organisations that are under investigation for a suspected breach of regulatory requirements, and in representing clients in prosecutions brought by Local or State Government bodies.

Some more information about each of these areas can be found below.

Marine Incidents and Maritime Prosecutions

For owners, operators, and masters of marine vessels in Queensland there are strict requirements in place to ensure the safe and seaworthy operation of those vessels. Investigations and prosecutions for breaches of these offences are conducted by Maritime Safety Queensland, a sub-branch of the Department of Transport.

Maritime Safety adopts a “risk-based” approach to regulating marine safety and ship-sourced pollution in Queensland. This effectively means that the more severe the offence, and the more serious the person’s culpability, the more serious the action taken by Marine Safety. This can include prosecution of offenders before the Courts and penalties including large fines and of imprisonment in the most severe cases.

If you own or operate a vessel in Queensland, you can find out some more information about these kinds of matters here.

Work Health and Safety Investigations  

In Queensland our Work Health and Safety “Framework” is divided into the Work Health and Safety Act, the Work Health and Safety Regulations and various codes of practice.

Investigations for breaches of the Framework are conducted by Work Health and Safety Queensland – with the overarching goal of providing safe work environments and practices across various Australian industries.

It is a criminal offence for a person or corporation, and it’s Directors, for breaching the work health and safety laws. Enforcement and prosecutions for these breaches is conducted by the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor. Penalties for breaching these laws are severe, with maximums of:

The team at Aitken Whyte Lawyers are experienced in acting for individuals, companies and directors charged with breaches of the work health and safety laws. For more information about these matters, including our past successes, read more here.

Food Act Prosecutions

Unlike other States and Territories in Australia, in Queensland it is largely the local government (i.e., Councils) who administer and enforce the Food Act as they see fit; however, investigations can also be run by Queensland Health (and sometimes in conjunction with the Council).

This places the Council with broad powers to determine the seriousness of any particular breach of the Act, but also to decide the appropriate enforcement action.

A number of enforcement options are available for contraventions of the Act, including: suspension or cancellation of a licence, improvement notices and prosecutions.

Environmental Prosecutions

Environmental prosecutions in Queensland are underpinned by a vast array of legislation aimed at environmental protection including the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Breaches of the protections in these Acts carry significant penalties ranging from fines up to periods of imprisonment. However, there are an array of options available to punish offenders before a matter goes to Court, including warnings, permit suspensions, infringement notices and undertakings.

It would be an understatement to say that the legislative framework applying to environmental prosecutions is complex. As a result, seeking legal advice at an early stage is paramount for any individual or entity facing environmental law violations, read more here.

Experts in Government and Regulatory Prosecutions

At Aitken Whyte Lawyers, we understand how detrimental an investigation or prosecution brought by the Government or a Regulator can be on you and your business.  We pride ourselves on providing you with thorough analysis and clear, practical advice.

We fiercely advocate for our clients. It is always our goal to obtain the best possible outcome for you and your business.

Contact the team at Aitken Whyte Lawyers today for expert advice.

Office Location and Contact Details


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane
2/414 Upper Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3229 4459
Fax: +617 3211 9311


07 3229 4459 Email

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