Penalties for plumbing law breaches

The Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 (PDA) and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 outline strong penalties for breaches of the plumbing laws.

A breach of the law may result in:

  • prosecution in the courts (maximum penalty units (MPU))
  • on-the-spot fines (penalty infringement notices).

To protect public health and the environment, there are strong penalties for:

  • unlicensed plumbing work
  • offences that endanger health and safety.

The maximum penalties for unlicensed work align with similar offences under Queensland's building laws to create consistency across similar legislation.

Sliding scale offences

There are 4 sliding-scale offences relating to unlicensed work, defined as:

  • carrying out work without appropriate licence (section 56(1), PDA)
  • supervising or directing work without an appropriate licence (sections 57(1), 57(2) and 57(3) PDA).

People who continue to perform work without a licence face increased (sliding scale) penalties for second and third convictions.

The 4 offences are:

  • performing, directing or supervising unlicensed work: maximum penalties are 250 MPU for the first offence and 300 MPU for the second offence
  • repeated offences (a third or later offence), or where the plumbing or drainage work is grossly defective and likely to endanger public health and safety: the maximum penalty is 350 MPU or 1 year's imprisonment
  • offences that deal with safety issues (e.g. unauthorised removal of a temperature control device): the maximum penalty is 250 MPU
  • disciplinary breaches: the maximum penalty is 100 MPU. This aligns with the penalty for noncompliant plumbing work.

Your right to appeal

If you have been issued with a notice under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018, you have a right to appeal the decision. To appeal, you must do the following within 5 business days after the notice was issued:

Read schedule 17 of the Planning Regulation 2017 for a list of the applicable fee units for appeals.

From 1 July 2022 the value of a fee unit for the Planning Regulation 2017 is $1.025. The calculated dollar amount is to be rounded to the nearest dollar (rounding one-half upwards).


If a fee were 300 fee units and the value of a fee unit were $1.025, the number of dollars obtained by multiplying 300 by $1.025 would be $307.50. Because $307.50 is halfway between $307 and $308, it is rounded upwards, so the amount of the fee would be $308.

Payments may be made online via a secure credit card payment facility or by cheque or money order.

Contact the Development Tribunals

Registrar, Development Tribunals
Department of Energy and Public Works
GPO Box 2457
Phone: 1800 804 833