Victorian Parliament Passes Spent Convictions Act 2021
The Spent Convictions Act 2021 was passed in Victorian Parliament on the 18th of March 2021, but the majority of the legislation only came into effect on the 1st of December 2021. This is a significant date as it brings Victoria into line with other Australian states and territories in having a legislated spent convictions scheme. Victoria was the final state or territory to pass such a scheme.
The scheme is intended to “remove the unfair barriers faced by Victorians who previously committed an offence but have since demonstrated their ability to rehabilitate”. The legislation achieves this goal by allowing minor and/or historic criminal offences to be “spent”, meaning they will no longer show up on a criminal record check (except under some circumstances).
The requirements for a conviction to become spent are as follows:
- An offence that was not a serious violence offence or a sexual offence.
- Any term of imprisonment, or detention in a youth justice facility, imposed by the court was 30 months or less.
- Adults must complete a crime-free period of 10 years
- Children and young people must complete a crime-free period of five years.
Now that Victoria has implemented its own spent convictions scheme, every state and territory has a piece of equivalent legislation. While the intent and the core features of the legislation is the same nationally, there are some important differences between the states. If you would like to read further into the legislation nationally, you can do so at the resources below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
To understand how this change impacts you as an employer, you can read more on the Victorian Justice and Community Safety website here. You can also see a summary of information regarding the changes in the Spent Convictions Act Factsheet here.