NSW residents face up to six months in jail and a $11,000 fine if they leave their home without a "reasonable excuse" after tough new restrictions started on Tuesday.
Similar penalties are possible for the ACT as Chief Minister Andrew Barr has previously said the territory would look to NSW's response, in an effort to harmonise rules across the border. However, Mr Barr has also said authorities would focus on education before applying penalties.
In NSW, a public health order is now in place to enforce social distancing rules that the state government says will deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences.
Under the order, "a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person's place of residence".
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said police would no longer issue cautions for those flouting self-isolation rules - instead $1000 on-the-spot fines would be handed out.
Police could also arrest and charge those repeatedly ignoring health orders, with a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
A Sydney man is already behind bars for allegedly ignoring his home self-quarantine twice on Saturday before trying to leave the serviced apartment in which he had been confined.
The NSW Government Gazette lists acceptable excuses as: obtaining food or other goods and services; travelling for work or education if the person cannot do it at home; exercise; and medical or caring reasons.
In addition, the order directs that people must not gather in groups of more than two people in public places, exceptions include: gatherings of members of the same household, and gatherings essential for work or education.
Penalties for an individual who fails to comply are six months jail or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both), plus a further $5500 fine each day the offence continues.
Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.
A full list of reasonable excuses can be found in Schedule 1 of the order.
In WA, those who don't comply with self-isolation directions will have an electric device installed in their homes or be warned under new laws to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Those who flout the laws, remove or interfere with the electronic device without reason will be fined $12000 or jailed for 12 months. The legislation will also introduce $1000 on-the-spot fines for people and $5000 fines for businesses who disobey self-isolation and gathering directives.
Under the Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 also to be introduced, anyone who knowingly has or says they have coronavirus, and assaults or threatens to harm a public officer will be penalised.
Culprits will face up to 10 years in jail for assaults and seven years for threats or other harm.
On Monday, Mr Barr said Canberrans would be fined if they ignored new guidelines restricting gatherings to no more than two people other than family members or householders.
"We'll look at what other states and territories are doing and there will be significant on-the-spot fines," he said.
"It won't be like a nuisance fine for not voting. This is serious."
- with AAP
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