Exemptions are granted in very limited circumstances only. The decision to grant an exemption is made by the Minister.
An exporter of regulated waste material may apply for an exemption from a range of requirements, such as:
- holding an export waste licence, for example, to export trade samples
- meeting a condition/s of a licence
- making declarations in the department’s WELD portal.
You can apply for an exemption:
- for a specified period up to 12 months
- until a specified event takes place, which must be within 12 months of the exemption start date.
- Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020
- Recycling and Waste Reduction (Export—Waste Glass) Rules 2020
- Recycling and Waste Reduction (Export—Waste Plastics) Rules 2021
- Recycling and Waste Reduction (Export—Waste Tyres) Rules 2021.
Your application can be for one type of waste material only. If you want an exemption for another waste material, make another application.
The Minister will consider applications for exemptions on a case-by-case basis. You will need to show good reason why the Minister should grant the exemption.
Find out about fees and charges.
Note: Exporters who are exempt from making a declaration in our WELD portal will need to contact us when they want to export a consignment. Do this before you declare your consignment to the Australian Border Force's Integrated Cargo System (ICS)..
How to apply for an exemption
Exemptions are granted in very limited circumstances only. Before you apply for one, contact us to discuss your circumstances:
In your exemption application, you must:
- specify which provision of the Act and/or section of the relevant rules you want an exemption from
- explain how granting the exemption will meet the objects of the Act
- provide any supporting documents.
Make sure documents you provide with your application are:
- clear and legible
- in English or translated into English by a translator accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
Exemption from a waste export licence
The relevant sections of the Act and Rules for most applications for an exemption from the requirement to hold a waste export licence will be:
- sections 18 and 20 of the Act
- sections 5 and 6 of the Waste Plastic, Glass and Tyre Rules.
The information and supporting documents relevant for this kind of exemption could include:
- evidence demonstrating the reasons why you are unable to sort and/or process the regulated waste in Australia (e.g. correspondence with processors)
- evidence of the steps you have taken to meet the requirements of the Act and relevant rules
- reasons why exporting the regulated waste is a better outcome than other options
- written support from, and/or details of discussions with, state or territory governments (e.g. relating to waste storage considerations)
- the intended use of the regulated waste overseas and details of commercial arrangements with the importer/s and supplier/s
- documents provided in your application for a waste export licence that has been granted (e.g. specifications and evidence of processing capacity).
If you are applying for an exemption from holding a waste export licence, and a specification is required for the waste type, you must tell us the specification that the regulated waste material has been, or will be, processed to. The specification could be:
- listed on our website (listed specifications)
- not listed on our website (unlisted specifications), for example, your importer's specification.
The specification may also need to include certain requirements for the specific waste material type.
If you choose an unlisted specification, include a copy of the specification in your application.
Find more information about specifications.
If you are applying for the licence exemption because you want to export a trade sample/s for market testing, you must also advise:
- the weight of the trade sample/s.
- how many units or packages of trade samples you expect to export.
Submit an exemption application
Complete and submit your application through our Waste Export Licencing and Declaration (WELD) portal. Before you can apply, you need to be registered to use the portal.
Note: The person who completes the application should do so in their own registered WELD account. This person must also complete the applicant declaration and will be the contact person for the application. Please make sure this person is authorised to register and to submit the exemption application.
We will be able to process your application quicker if you submit:
- a complete application with all supporting documents
- documents that are legible and have a descriptive name.
We consider applications that don’t include required information or documents as incomplete. If this happens, we will request the information from you. You will need to provide this information before we start to assess your application.
If you provide false or misleading information, you may be subject to a civil penalty or a criminal offence. Find out more about how to comply.
After you apply
Correct your application
Let us know, as soon as possible, if any information or documents in your application are incomplete or incorrect. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via 'My messages' in your WELD portal.
Provide further information
We may contact you to provide additional information or documents. Please respond to these requests within 30 days.
Fit and proper person check
As part of assessing your application, we may undertake a fit and proper person check.
We will notify you of the outcome of your exemption application
We will email you when the Minister has made a decision on your application. You will then need to log into the WELD portal to read the details of the decision.
If the Minister grants the exemption, we will issue you an instrument of exemption. The instrument will:
- specify the exemption number
- set out any conditions that apply to the exemption.
You still need to meet all other requirements.
If the Minister refuses your application, we will tell you why the Minister refused it. If you do not agree with the decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed.
Exemption information published
We publish the following information on our website about exemptions we grant:
- the name of the exemption holder
- the type of waste covered by the exemption
- when the exemption takes effect
- when the exemption expires.
Change an exemption
Under certain circumstances, the Minister may change a condition/s that applies to your exemption.
If the Minister changes a condition of your exemption, we will notify you.
You cannot ask for a review of these changes.
You cannot apply yourself to change a condition of an exemption. To change a condition of an exemption, apply for a new exemption.
Revoke an exemption
Under certain circumstances, the Minister may revoke your exemption. For example:
- when the waste material has not been managed in an environmentally sound way
- when there has been an impact on human and/or environmental health in the receiving country.
If your exemption is revoked, the Minister will notify you in writing.
You cannot ask for a review of a decision to revoke an exemption.