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Enforcement and penalties
Aviation safety is our top priority. Part of our role is to ensure everyone is flying according to the rules and police those who don't.
Breaking the rules could result in penalties including heavy fines, Commonwealth prosecution and even jail time.
Operators who are flying unsafely or breaking the rules are usually identified by one of the following:
- remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) inspectors – our team of enforcement officials
- public reporting – complaints from members of the public, submitted to the unsafe drones reporting form
- police co-operation – investigations made by federal, state or territory police and reports made to them by members of the public.
We work with police who may investigate unsafe drone reports and refer them to us for further investigation.
We review and assess all complaints or reports and issue appropriate enforcement actions or penalties.
- educate – provide information about the drone safety rules
- counsel – when you are known to be doing the wrong thing, to guide you in the right direction
- issue an infringement notice – where necessary, fines and licence penalties may be issued.
If you don't pay an infringement notice, and in serious rule breach circumstances, we will refer your case to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.
Fines of up to $1,110 can be issued per offence and further 'demerit' style points can be applied to your licence or certificate.
If matters are sent to court, you could be convicted of a crime, have demerits added to your licence or certificate, and/or fined up to $11,100.
If you are found to be operating a drone in a way that is hazardous to other aircraft, the penalty can be up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to $26,640 for an individual.
It's also illegal to shoot down or interfere with a drone, even if it's flying over your home or backyard. The penalty can be up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $26,640 for an individual.
From 28 January 2021, you can be fined if you fly an unregistered drone or without an operator accreditation (or remote pilot licence) for business use or as part of your job. The fine will be up to $11,100.
You can be asked to produce your certificate of registration and accreditation by an authorised representative of CASA or member of the Australian Federal Police or State and Territory police services.
States and territories may have extra legislation related to penalties and enforcement.
Read more about how we enforce the rules.
Drone surveillance and detection
Drone detection has been rolled out across Australia.
A number of enforcement agencies such as the Australian Federal Police are also using drone detection devices at major events and work with CASA to report infringements.
In 2019-20, 51 penalty notices were issued. A total of 63 penalty notices were issued in 2018.
Have a question? Need some help? Try asking our virtual assistant, which can be found in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
You can also contact us through our online enquiry form.
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