We regulate the export of waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper under the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 (the Act) and rules. This helps us to oversee exports of waste that have the potential to impact the environment and human health.
Our approach to compliance assists exporters of regulated waste materials to comply with waste export laws.
We support and encourage compliance and respond to breaches of waste export laws consistent with our Compliance Policy.
Our compliance focus is to communicate and educate.
To help you understand your obligations and comply with waste export laws, we may conduct webinars and presentations, send email updates and provide guidance material.
We are responsible for ensuring the Waste export scheme meets the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 (the Act) objectives.
- Reduce the impact on human and environmental health from regulated waste material.
- Australia takes responsibility for its own waste.
- Australia develops a circular economy that maximise the continued use of waste material.
- Australia meets its international obligations concerning the impact on human and environmental health.
Audits allow us to monitor compliance in the waste export program. Audits also allow us to educate you and to identify opportunities to reduce red tape.
Audits play an important role in maintaining the integrity of Australia’s regulated waste export system. They provide effective oversight with clear and transparent objectives. Compliance audits are being regularly undertaken as part of the compliance audit program.
We will randomly select regulated waste exports and exporters for audit to ensure they are complying with the Act and rules.
If non-compliance is identified during an audit you may be required to undertake corrective action. You may also be subject to additional audits. Where the non-compliance is serious your export licence may be suspended or revoked.
What we audit
An audit or program of audits can be carried out on any area of regulated waste export including:
- record keeping
- licence or exemption conditions
- notifications required by the Act.
In undertaking an audit an auditor may:
- request holders of an export licence or exemption, or another person that has relevant information such as an export agent, to provide information or documents
- visit your premises
- take samples of products or waste materials from equipment or things used in export operations
- take, test or analyse samples.
If you are selected for an audit, you will be notified through the Waste Export Licensing and Declaration (WELD) Portal. The notice will:
- state the regulatory obligation that is being audited, for example, recordkeeping, licence or exemption conditions, notification requirements
- include examples of documents that you could provide as evidence
- specify the timeframe you must provide the documents within
- include contact details for the compliance officer.
We are committed to ensuring the notice is clear and concise.
We ask you to be transparent in your provision of accurate information.
At the audit’s completion we will provide you with our assessment of your compliance with the selected regulatory obligation.
Types of audits
We undertake routine random audits to ensure requirements and conditions of the Act are being, or will be, met.
For example, we may randomly select to audit:
- export destinations
- type of waste materials
- the timeframe in which exports are made
- a combination of these or other factors.
We may undertake targeted audits as a result of:
- information provided by the public or other regulators including Australian border law enforcement and intelligence agencies
- risk factors associated with the waste material or use of incorrect AHECC export codes, exporter's compliance history
- export destination.
You must provide auditors with assistance and access to the facilities they need including answering questions and producing documents.
If you are assessed as not complying with the regulatory obligation we will provide you the reason for our assessment.
Undertake fit and proper person checks
We undertake fit and proper person checks when we assess licence applications. We may also undertake these checks after a licence or exemption is granted. For example, we may undertake a fit and proper check on the licence or exemption holder if they engage new:
- export agents or freight forwarders
- importers of the waste material
- suppliers of the waste material
- people in management or control of their business.
You must let us know when there are changes to your licence or business.
Monitor your export operations
We may enter your premises to monitor your operations if we suspect you are not complying with waste export laws. We can do this:
- even if you are complying with the law
- without your consent if we have a warrant.
When monitoring your premises, authorised persons may:
- search the premises and any thing on the premises, including waste material or equipment
- examine or observe activities conducted on the premises
- take photographs or videos and make copies of documents
- inspect, examine, test or, measure any thing on the premises
- take, test and analyse samples (for example, test and analyse a sample of waste to determine whether the required specification has been met)
- inspect any documents and take extracts or copies
- operate equipment and transfer data
- secure your premises, things on the premises or electronic equipment.
Where entry is under a warrant, you must provide reasonable facilities and assistance needed, including answering questions and producing documents.
We may investigate your operations to assess compliance with the Act.
Take enforcement action
There is a range of enforcement actions we can take if you aren't complying with waste export laws. These actions could:
- prevent your business from exporting
- affect your reputation as a trusted exporter.
Find out more at how to comply.
As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, we may publish information about contraventions of the law, orders to pay a penalty or injunctions that are granted. The information may include the:
- person's or company's name
- illegal activity
- the penalty issued.
Respond to reports of non-compliance
We assess all allegations of non-compliance to determine if we need to take further action. If you report a breach, we will hold your details in strict confidence.
To report a suspected regulated waste breach:
- Call our Environment Compliance Hotline on 1800 110 395
- Email email@example.com
- Write to Environment Compliance, GPO Box 3090, Canberra ACT 2601