Compliance – it’s in your best interest
Complying with the law is not only a requirement, it’s in your best interest. Your business’s reputation depends on it. Exporting waste material consistent with the law can provide many benefits to your business.
We support and encourage compliance and respond to breaches of waste export laws.
Infographic about Compliance
Compliance - It's in your best interest.
Save time and costs
Your exports will spend less time on the docks and you will avoid non-compliance penalties.
Realise economic benefits
Secure more contracts with buyers who know you're compliant.
Build stronger relationships
Compliant products and materials will strengthen your reputation and relationships with customers and government regulators.
Help reduce the impact of waste
Contribute to healthy communities and protecting the environment.
Meet community expectations
Australians want assurance that the material that goes in their recycling bins is reused.
Know when the rules start for the waste materials you export
Exporters of waste glass, plastics (including processed engineered fuel), tyres (including tyre-derived fuel) and paper need to know when we will start regulating their waste material.
The rules for the export of:
- waste glass came into effect on 1 January 2021.
- single resin, sorted waste plastic came into effect on 1 July 2021
- waste tyres came into effect on 1 December 2021
- single resin and further processed waste plastic came into effect on 1 July 2022
- waste paper and cardboard will come into effect on 1 July 2024.
What you must do
Read our guide to exporting waste. Following these steps is a good start to complying.
Make sure you always meet all the conditions of your licence and/or exemption.
Keep us informed
You must let us know when:
- you want to vary something on your licence
- there is a change to your operations, for example, persons with management or control responsibilities or a change in contact details
- there is a change to a supplier, importer or export agent
- your business is closing down.
Find out more about changes to your licence or business.
You must also let us know:
- if you or an associate are convicted or need to pay a penalty under Australian law for an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, or an environmental matter.
- if you or an associate are given a notice relating to an environmental matter under a state or territory law that requires you to take action.
As soon as possible, please:
- phone us on 1800 852 974
- email ExportWaste@awe.gov.au
- contact us via 'My messages' in your WELD portal.
Always follow directions from an authorised officer or auditor when they conduct compliance activities such as audits, monitoring and investigations. Answer questions and provide documents, assistance and reasonable access to all facilities when requested.
Find out more in our approach to compliance.
You must make and keep detailed records about your exports.
We may audit your records at any time to ensure you are meeting your obligations. Find out more in our approach to compliance.
If you suspect someone is breaching waste export laws, you can report them to us.
We will assess all allegations 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to Environment Compliance, GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601
To report suspected fraud:
- Call our Integrity Hotline on 1800 998 880
- Email email@example.com
- Write to Integrity, GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601
What happens if you don't comply
There is a range of enforcement actions we can take if you don't comply.
In deciding the enforcement action to take, we will consider:
- the nature and severity of the harm caused
- compliance history and cooperation
- public concern
- deterrence value of the enforcement measure.
In some cases, we may issue a warning instead of taking enforcement action.
Suspension or revocation
We may suspend or revoke your export licence, for example:
- if you contravene a condition or requirement of your licence
- to prevent or lessen a threat to human or environmental health
- if we find you are not a fit and proper person
- if you provide false or misleading information.
We will give you notice of our intention to do this and outline the reasons why.
Usually, we will give you the option of providing a written statement showing why we shouldn’t revoke or suspend your licence. If we give you this option, you must provide the statement within 14 days of the notice.
If we revoke or suspend your licence, you can ask for our decision to be reviewed.
We may vary your licence
Under certain circumstances, we may vary an aspect/s your licence without an application from you. We may do this, for example:
- to ensure compliance with the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020
- to prevent or lessen a threat to human or environmental health
- when the licence holder is not a fit and proper person
- when you have provided false or misleading information
- when a condition of the licence has been, or is being, contravened.
Usually, we will give you notice of the proposed change. The notice will:
- specify each proposed change
- specify the grounds for each proposed change
- usually give you an opportunity to provide, within 14 days, a written statement showing why we shouldn't make the proposed change
- include a statement setting out your right to seek review of a decision to make the proposed change.
We will email you when we have made a decision on the proposed variation. You will need to log into the WELD portal to read the details of the decision.
If we vary your licence, we will issue another licence with the updated details. The licence number will not change. If you do not agree with our decision to vary your licence, you can ask for it to be reviewed.
We may issue you with an infringement notice if, for example, you:
- make a false or misleading statement or give false or misleading information
- don't provide information we ask for
- don't let us know of changes that affect your export licence or business
- don't assist or provide access to facilities to an authorised person when asked
- don't comply with the directions given by an authorised person
- don't make and retain records.
An injunction is a court order to stop you breaching, or to make you comply with, waste export laws.
If we issue an injunction, you must immediately stop the non-compliant conduct stated on the injunction.
We may also issue an interim injunction. This is a court order to stop you breaching, or make you comply with, waste export laws while awaiting the outcome of a trial.
An enforceable undertaking is a written agreement between us and a party who is not complying with waste export laws. We may use an enforceable undertaking instead of taking you to court. In agreeing to an undertaking, you commit to doing something or stop doing something to comply with the law.
Not complying with the agreed terms of an enforcement undertaking is a serious matter. We can apply to the courts to enforce the terms of the agreement.
Criminal charges and civil penalties
We may pursue civil or criminal penalties in cases of serious non-compliance.
The most serious criminal breaches may incur a penalty of up to five years imprisonment or up to $66,600 or both for an individual and up to $333,000 for a corporation.
The most serious compliance breaches may incur a civil penalty of up to $133,200 for an individual and up to $666,000 for a corporation.