Sentencing Act review

The Attorney-General's Department

Sentencing Act review

The Better Sentencing Options (PDF 518KB) discussion paper noted that the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 had been operating for almost 30 years and, although it had been amended on many occasions, the time had come for a complete review. 

This review is now complete, with the Sentencing Bill 2016 due to be considered by Parliament in 2017. 

Sentencing Bill 2016

The Sentencing Bill 2016 has been introduced to Parliament, and is due to be considered in 2017. The Bill proposes a number of changes to how criminal offenders are sentenced in court, including new sentencing principles and new sentencing options. 

View the Sentencing Bill 2016.

New sentencing principles

The Bill changes the factors that a court must consider when making sentencing decisions. It proposes a new primary consideration in sentencing, being the protection of the safety of the community, together with a series of secondary considerations that a court must take into account.

The proposed primary consideration is new. The secondary considerations reflect the current law, but systematise it and make it transparent.

New sentencing options

While sometimes there is no alternative to a prison sentence, there are circumstances where people can be more effectively rehabilitated in other ways. To address this, the Bill proposes a new type of sentence that courts can impose: intensive correction orders.


Community and sector feedback was sought on the reform in two parts.

Part 1 reconsidered issues such as the fundamental purposes of sentencing, and the universal factors to be taken into account in sentencing. Feedback closed in March 2016. 

Part 2 of the consultation proposed further enhancements to the sentencing principles and options available to a court. Feedback closed on Friday 9 September 2016. 

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
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