68. Liability for loss - custody

(1) A Minister or an official of a non-corporate Commonwealth entity is liable to pay an amount to the Commonwealth if all of the following apply:

(a) a loss of relevant money or relevant property occurs (including by way of deficiency, destruction or damage);

(b) at the time of the loss, the Minister or official had custody of the money or property as described in subsection (3) or (4);

(c) the Minister or official did not take reasonable steps in the circumstances to prevent the loss.

(2) The amount the Minister or official is liable to pay under subsection (1) is:

(a) for a loss of relevant money - the amount of the loss; or

(b) for a loss of relevant property:

(i) if the property is damaged - the value of the property or the cost of repairing the property, whichever is less; or

(ii) otherwise - the value of the property.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), a person has custody of relevant money if the person:

(a) holds the money by way of a petty cash advance, change float or other advance; or

(b) has received the money, but has not yet dealt with it as required by section 55 (which is about banking of relevant money).

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), a person has custody of relevant property if:

(a) the person has taken delivery of the property and has not returned it to another person entitled to receive the property on behalf of the Commonwealth; and

(b) when the person took delivery of the property the person signed a written acknowledgement that the property was delivered on the express condition that the person would at all times take strict care of the property.

Last updated: 13 January 2016