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Our compliance approach

Our Compliance policy for education, monitoring and enforcement activities aims to optimise voluntary compliance with the schemes we administer. We updated this policy in January 2019. At the same time we published a new Compliance policy for enforceable undertakings, which details our approach to enforceable undertakings used to improve, and where necessary enforce, compliance with the legislation we administer.

Our approach to regulation starts from the premise that responsibility for complying with scheme obligations clearly rests with the individual or organisation that the relevant legislation, policy or contract applies to. We take a harm prevention approach in the first instance to encourage compliance and also pursue non-compliance. We are clear about our objectives and what we want to achieve. To help determine the appropriate response to non-compliance, we use an intelligence-led, risk-based approach that considers the behaviour and motivation of scheme participants.

We recognise that engagement, education and support are critical to ensuring scheme participants meet their obligations and avoid inadvertent non-compliance. We publish various guidance materials and resources to advise our participants of their obligations.

Our well-established monitoring, audit and assessment processes protect against fraud and non-compliance across all our schemes. This includes assessing submitted reports, analysing data to identify trends, anomalies and behaviours, and conducting audits, site visits and inspections. We also analyse large data sets and use smart algorithms to detect out-of-pattern behaviours.

Where necessary, we initiate investigations, pursue civil action and refer relevant cases for criminal prosecution in more serious cases of deliberate non-compliance.

We publish details of enforcement action when participants do not comply with their obligations, demonstrating that we will take enforcement action in appropriate circumstances and providing added incentive for our participants to voluntarily comply.

Compliance priorities

We publish compliance priorities each year to increase transparency and accountability of our activities. Sometimes we supplement or refocus these priorities in response to behaviours we observe during the year. Our 2018–19 compliance priorities identified focus areas for compliance and our approach to regulation across our schemes, as summarised in Figure 4. More detail about the agency's 2018–19 compliance priorities are available on our website.

Figure 4: Summary of our compliance priorities for 2018–19


Focus areas

Emissions Reduction Fund

Ensure that regeneration projects receive Australian carbon credit units for genuine and additional abatement.

Confirm that proponents have the legal right to conduct projects and be issued Australian carbon credit units.

Ensure that contract deliveries are made on time by pursuing buyer’s market damages where new delivery schedules cannot be agreed.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme

Support consistency and accuracy of emissions and energy data through guidance and desktop assessments and audits.

Tighten our resubmission policy and consider use of compliance tools for reporters with a history of submitting inaccurate data.

Improve the integrity of data reported under various schemes where a greenhouse and energy auditor is used.

Safeguard Mechanism

Engage early with responsible emitters identified as having potential excess emissions situations.

Support compliance by encouraging responsible emitters to be proactive in planning their response to any excess emissions.

Renewable Energy Target

Ensure that only eligible systems receive the right number of small-scale technology certificates by:

  • streamlining and automating validations of small-scale technology certificates
  • introducing compulsory knowledge checks and self-assessment requirements for registered agents and suspending agents who make false claims.

Ensure only eligible renewable generation receives the right number of large-scale generation certificates by:

  • running sophisticated analytics across claims
  • requiring participants to take greater accountability for the quality of data provided, and
  • refusing over-claims and investigating where false and misleading information is provided.

Ensure that embedded generators on mine sites are properly identifying and reporting as liable entities.

As our participants and schemes evolve, we are shifting our focus to a stronger emphasis on proactively and effectively detecting and addressing non-compliance. We are prepared to anticipate, identify, analyse and respond to potential non-compliance and use the range of engagement, education, compliance and enforcement tools and powers at our disposal.

Compliance activities and outcomes for 2018–19 are reported in Part 3 – Scheme performance.