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Reminder: Up to $100,000 fines await anti-lockdown protestors

·3-min read
NSW Police detain protestors at Sydney's anti-lockdown rally on Saturday 21 August
Anti-lockdown protestors face hefty fines for breaking the rules. (Source: Getty)

Anti-lockdown protestors are once again clashing with police across many of Australia’s capital cities as regional Victoria joins Melbourne in lockdown and NSW breaks the national record for the highest number of COVID-19 cases announced in a day.

Melbourne and Sydney police have reportedly already made multiple arrests of unmasked demonstrators, while more than 2,000 protestors have gathered in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and around 100 Darwin protestors have congregated at the city centre.

However, the activities of anti-lockdown protestors can see them hit with penalties from $200 to as much as $100,000, depending on what rules they’re breaching and where they live.

Also read:

Depending on each state, here are the fines protestors can potentially face for breaching public health orders:


NSW residents can face on-the-spot fines of:

  • $500 for failing to wear or carry a mask if you’re 18 years old or older;

  • $1,000 if you breach a public health order;

  • $3,000 if you’re at an outdoor gathering of more than two people;

  • $5,000 if you intentionally spit or cough at public officials or essential workers.

Protestors those with placards gather in Sydney on August 21, 2021, following calls for an anti-lockdown protest rally amid a fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by David Gray / AFP) (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Anti-lockdown protestors gather in Sydney on August 21, 2021. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

NSW also banned seven taxi and rideshare companies from taking passengers into the CBD until Saturday 3pm AEST.

Individuals who ignore this rule will face up to $100,000, while the passenger services caught not complying with this notice can incur penalties of $500,000.

Also, individuals who fail to comply with instructions to self-isolate because they have COVID-19 or are a close contact can also be fined $5,000.

NSW has already been in lockdown for nearly two whole months, with Greater Sydney's lockdown extended until the end of September.


Thousands of people gather in Melbourne's CBD to protect lockdown restrictions on August 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Anti-lockdown protesters gathered despite current COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting outdoor gatherings. Lockdown restrictions are currently in place across Melbourne as Victoria continues to record new cases of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant. A curfew is also now in place from 9 pm to 5 am each night across the metropolitan area. The restrictions are set to remain in place until 11.59 pm on Thursday, 2 September.
Thousands of people gather in Melbourne's CBD to protect lockdown restrictions on August 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Source: Getty)

In some respects, on-the-spot penalties in Victoria are slightly higher than that of NSW:

  • $200 if you’re caught not wearing a face mask without a lawful exemption;

  • $1,817 if you don’t comply with emergency directions, public health risk power directions, or Public Health Directions;

  • $5,452 if you’re found breaching gathering directions either indoors or outdoors, or if you fail to comply with self-isolation directions from Victoria’s Department of Health;

  • $21,808 is the maximum penalty individuals can incur if the matter is taken to court.

On Saturday, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said: "Every protester who we can identify and who we can apprehend will receive a $5,500 fine.

"It's just ridiculous to think that people would be so selfish and come and do this."


As of 4pm Friday, restrictions have been lifted in Cairns and the Yarrabah LGAs – but some restrictions remain for 11 LGAs in South East Queensland, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, and more.

For these LGAs, gatherings in public spaces are limited to 30 people – meaning that the protest at Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens, which reportedly has more than 2,000 attendees, is definitely outside the rules.

Here’s how much anti-lockdown demonstrators in these 11 Queensland LGAs can face:

  • $206 if they don’t wear a mask;

  • $1,378 in on-the-spot fines;

  • $13,785 or six month’s jail time is the penalty courts can impose.


Darwin isn’t in lockdown, but it’s mandatory to wear a mask if you can’t safely physically distance.

ABC is reporting that around 100 protestors have gathered at Darwin’s city centres, with police handing out disposable masks to some unmasked demonstrators.

Mask fines are incredibly hefty in this territory: $5,000 is how much Northern Territory residents can be fined if they’re not wearing a mask.

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