Baseline sentencing laws passed

  • Much tougher baseline sentences for serious crimes
  • Reforms add to range of significant law and order reforms already introduced
  • Napthine Government building a safer Victoria

New laws passed by the Victorian Parliament this week will ensure that offenders who commit a range of serious crimes will spend more time in prison.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the baseline sentencing reforms would ensure that those found guilty of murder, large-scale commercial drug trafficking, culpable driving causing death and child sex offences would face big increases in sentences.

The new legislation requires courts to set higher sentences not just for the most serious instances of those offences, but across the sentencing range.

“These changes will see significant increases in the patently inadequate average sentences currently being imposed for some of the most serious of crimes,” Mr Clark said.

Under the reforms, the average sentences for the offences to which the legislation applies will increase to:

  • murder — 25 years;
  • trafficking in a large commercial quantity of a drug or drugs of dependence — 14 years;
  • incest with a child under 18 — 10 years;
  • sexual penetration of a child under 12 years — 10 years;
  • persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 years — 10 years; and
  • culpable driving causing death — nine years.

The Bill is the first stage of the Victorian Coalition Government’s introduction of baseline sentences under which the community, through the Parliament, will be able to specify not just the maximum sentence that can apply for an offence but the median sentence for courts to apply.

“This legislation makes clear that cases of the sort that would previously have received the old median sentence must in future receive the new, higher, baseline sentence specified by Parliament,” Mr Clark said.

“Cases that are more serious than the median case will be required to receive a higher sentence than the baseline, and cases that are less serious will be able to receive a sentence lower than the baseline.”

Offenders sentenced to 20 years or more will be required to serve a non-parole period of at least 70 per cent of the sentence in jail.

The non-parole period for those sentenced to less than 20 years must be at least 60 per cent of their sentence, while those sentenced to life imprisonment will be required to serve a non-parole period of at least 30 years in jail.

These reforms add to the range of significant sentencing reforms already introduced by the Coalition Government to ensure stronger and more effective sentencing in Victoria.

These include abolishing home detention and suspended sentences, replacing the previous range of community orders with a new, stronger Community Correction Order and introducing four-year statutory minimum non-parole periods for offences of gross violence.


Chromatix Digital Agency