We can take a range of action when there is non-compliance or a breach of the laws we administer. 

The action we take will depend on how serious the non-compliance is and how long it has continued. We also consider how we can protect the integrity and improve the outcomes of the schemes we administer.

When we take action 

We use our enforcement powers to stop breaches or non-compliance. We also use them to remove illegitimate participants from the schemes we administer. 

We consider a range of factors when deciding whether to start an investigation.

We take action when:

  • we suspect a serious civil contravention or criminal offence, like fraud
  • the participant hasn't been willing to comply
  • there is repeated or habitual relapses into non-compliance
  • there is deliberate, intentional or organised non-compliance
  • the activity or behaviour may impact our objectives, including causing harm or loss to the Commonwealth
  • the activity involves the interests of other Commonwealth, state or territory agencies.

Over and under crediting

Over or under crediting is when a participant under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) or Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme receives more or less certificates or units than they're entitled to.

If this happens we:

  • contact the participant and seek more information
  • assess the individual circumstances following our compliance, education and enforcement policy
  • work with the participant to relinquish, surrender or issue units or certificates (as required).

When deciding what action to take we consider any suspected or known fraud and non-compliance. We also consider if the participant has come forward voluntarily.

In some circumstances, we may use our compliance and enforcement powers including audits or reviewing the participant's fit and proper person status.

Corrective actions and enforceable undertakings 

We can take corrective action for serious or continuing contraventions. This can include exercising suspension and revocation powers, which include:

We can also accept enforceable undertakings. An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement between us and the participant. The participant must carry out specific activities outlined in the undertaking. The activities can be significant.

Learn more about enforceable undertakings.

Infringement notices and civil penalties

We may issue infringement notices or seek civil penalties for breaches of civil penalty provisions. These are financial penalties. They aren't criminal offences and don't include imprisonment. 

An infringement notice sets out the type of breach and penalty amount. Failure to pay the penalty may result in court action.

For continuing or serious non-compliance, we can start court proceedings. 

Criminal penalties

We can pursue criminal sanctions for scheme participants that breach provisions where there is a criminal penalty. Breaching these provisions might be a criminal offence and carry financial penalties and risk imprisonment. 

These breaches usually involve dishonesty or fraud. They can also involve conduct that might harm society, the environment, the schemes we administer or our participants.


We can start court proceedings for serious or continued non-compliance. 

Legal action may result in the non-compliant participant having to:

  • do or stop doing something (an injunction)
  • comply with an enforceable undertaking
  • pay us an amount equal to any financial benefit gained
  • compensate any other person who has suffered loss or damage
  • relinquish carbon units or Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs)
  • pay a penalty
  • go to prison.

Referring to other agencies 

We can also refer to other law enforcement agencies or regulatory bodies for investigation or prosecution. 

Publishing information about non-compliance

In some cases we are legally obliged to publish information. Our policy is to publish all enforceable undertakings.

We also publish:

  • commencement and outcomes of any court action
  • issuance of infringement notices
  • other types of enforcement action.

Find out about our enforcement activities: