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 manage 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.
During 2021-22, we are focusing our assurance efforts on audits.
Audits play an important role in maintaining the integrity of Australia’s export system. They provide effective oversight with clear and transparent objectives.
Audits also provide an opportunity for exporters to:
- better understand their obligations
- put processes into place to meet their obligations.
If an auditor identifies non-compliance, it may require corrective action, additional audits or lead to the suspension or revocation of an export licence.
We will look at records required to be kept by exporters to ensure they are complying with waste export requirements and conditions.
What we audit
An audit or program of audits can be carried out on:
- export operations
- regulated waste material
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
- take samples of products or waste materials from equipment or things used in export operations
- take, test or analyse samples.
We may contact you to:
- explain the details of the audit
- outline the documents we want to view and the premises we want to inspect
- make arrangements to conduct the audit
- discuss any other relevant matter.
Types of audits
We undertake routine audits to ensure requirements and conditions of the Act are being, or will be, met.
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 export codes, the exporter's or importer's history, or the destination.
We may also undertake random audits. 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 will seek your consent to enter your premises. You must provide auditors with assistance and access to the facilities they need including answering questions and producing documents.
Undertake fit and proper person checks
We undertake fit and proper person checks when we assess licence applications. We may also undertake these checks following the granting of a licence or an exemption. 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 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.
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 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
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.