About audits 

Audits are an important compliance monitoring measure for the schemes we administer. We use audits to:

Legislative framework for audits

Types of audits

An audit is an examination of information provided by an organisation by someone who is independent of that organisation. An audit gives us confidence and assurance that the information provided by scheme participants is fair and accurate.

The most common type of audit conducted within the schemes we administer is called an assurance engagement.

The purpose of an assurance engagement is to collect enough evidence to reach a conclusion. This conclusion offers reasonable or limited assurance about whether an audited body has followed the relevant legislation.

The more assurance given, the more confident you can be in the subject. To give stronger assurance, an auditor must do a more in-depth and rigorous assessment.

For more information, visit assurance engagement process.

Annual audit program

Our annual audit program looks at:

  • annual reports of greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage submitted by participants in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme
  • reports on projects running under the Australian Carbon Credit Unit Scheme
  • various aspects of participation in the Renewable Energy Target.

Auditors work independently of us. This makes sure we receive an independent opinion. Auditors are responsible for engaging with the audited body. They are also responsible for planning, testing and reporting on the audit.

Compliance audits

If we think a corporation isn't complying with legislation, we can initiate a compliance audit.

In these situations, the corporation must appoint an audit team leader (we will specify the appointed auditor) from the register of auditors. They then conduct the audit and provide us with a copy of the report.

Corporations must pay for compliance audits.

If we find non-compliance, we may take enforcement actions.

Other audits

We may initiate an audit for reasons other than suspected non-compliance. For example, we may conduct audits to collect information on how well a regulated community is following specific parts of the NGER legislation.

In these situations, we appoint the audit team leader and let the corporation know before the audit starts. We would also pay for the audit.

The information we collect helps us:

  • identify corporations or sectors we should target with training or guidance
  • assess the effectiveness of our training or guidance
  • determine other compliance monitoring and enforcement actions we need
  • identify instances of non-compliance.

Types of auditors

Registered greenhouse and energy auditors conduct audits. The audit team leader must be a registered greenhouse and energy auditor for most audits. There are 2 exceptions:

  • voluntary audits
  • exemption certificate audits (must be either a registered Category 2 auditor or a registered company auditor).

Auditors write reports that summarise audit results. They provide an opinion on how much confidence can be placed in the audited information.

We maintain a register of auditors that scheme participants can use to find an auditor.

We take a range of measures to ensure auditor independence:

  • Auditors aren't allowed to take part in our schemes.
  • All members of audit teams must sign conflict of interest declarations before taking part in an audit.
  • We enforce independence requirements set out in the audit framework.

Audit team leader

An audit team leader is an auditor who is appointed to an audit. It's usually a registered greenhouse and energy auditor but can be a registered company auditor for some audits.

Audit team leaders are responsible for making sure the audit meets the requirements of the audit framework and other relevant standards.

The audit team leader must be personally involved in all parts of the audit.

Category 1 and 2 auditors

There are 2 auditor categories: Category 1 auditors and Category 2 auditors.

Category 1 auditors are generally team members, technical auditors, and can be involved in voluntary audits.

Category 2 auditors can lead certain audits.

We no longer accept new Category 1 registrations. Existing Category 1 auditors will remain on the register.

Audit requirements by scheme

The following audits may be required as part of the schemes we administer.

We publish guidance for auditors on the areas they should focus on within the different schemes. For more, auditors should download our key risk areas for audits guideline.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) audits

There are 3 types of audits under the NGER Scheme:

  • voluntary – participants choose to have them done to check their compliance
  • audits under our audit program – this includes checking if a registered corporation complies with the NGER legislation
  • Safeguard Mechanism audits.

For more information, visit NGER record keeping and compliance.

Safeguard Mechanism audits

Responsible emitters must provide an audit report when they apply for a:

  • emissions intensity determination
  • trade-exempt baseline adjusted facility.

Reporters for facilities emitting more than 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions also need an audit report.

The audit provides assurance over production values and emissions intensity.

For more information, visit Safeguard Mechanism.

Renewable Energy Target (RET) audits

Audits under the RET help confirm participant compliance with the legislation. As part of the audit, we may:

  • conduct site visits
  • request records and other information to check data and internal processes.

We conduct audits under our annual audit program for this scheme.

Exemption certificate audits

Companies that apply for an exemption certificate under the RET may need to commission an audit.

A company needs an audit report if they expect their certifiable electricity amount to be 15,000 megawatt hours or more and the company either:

  • hasn't used the electricity use method before
  • hasn't submitted an audit report in 3 years.

We may also request a company get an audit report if the method they use to work out the exemption is different from the previous year.

For more information, visit exemption certificate audits.

Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme audits

Audits under the ACCU Scheme give us confidence that scheme participants are correctly reporting net carbon abatement.

ACCU Scheme participants must conduct certain types of audits:

  • scheduled initial audit
  • scheduled subsequent audits
  • unscheduled or triggered audits.

We take a risk-based approach to ACCU audits. For most projects, this means a minimum of 3 scheduled audits across the 7-to-25-year crediting period. Scheme participants must arrange and pay for these audits.

We conduct audits under our annual audit program for this scheme. This includes gateway audits under the human-induced regeneration of a permanent even-aged native forest method.

For more information, visit report and audit projects.

Voluntary audits

Scheme participants can conduct audits voluntarily.

For example, a company might want assurance they're compliant with legislation. They might do this even though they fall below the threshold for a mandatory audit. Voluntary audits can also assure investors, customers and board members.

We recommend voluntarily audits use our audit framework, but this is not required under legislation. Audits must follow all relevant national and international auditing and assurance standards.

Scheme participants must pay for their voluntary audits.

More information


Audit teams and quality management

Understand the roles and responsibilities of audit team members and quality management.

Find an auditor

Find and choose a registered greenhouse and energy auditor.

Register as an auditor

Find out how to become an auditor for our schemes.

Maintain your registration as an auditor

Understand your ongoing eligibility requirements as a registered greenhouse and energy auditor.
An aerial image of mangroves with a winding river through it.