The statute creating the offence specifies the time within which the proceedings may be commenced. The time varies among statutes and for different offences. For example, proceedings for offences against the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 may be commenced no later than two years after the offence was alleged to be committed (
s 9.57 of the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979). However, there are different time limits for proceedings for offences against the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
For certain types of offences (which are prescribed), proceedings may be commenced no later than three years after the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed or the date on which evidence of the alleged offence first came to the attention of any relevant authorised officer of a regulatory authority. For all other offences, proceedings may be commenced no later than 12 months after either of those dates (see
s 216 of the
Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997).