Tim's Blog

What's included in compliance obligations?


In a previous blog, I described the “compliance obligations” requirements of ISO 14001:2015.


In this blog, I’ll consider mandatory and non-mandatory compliance obligations from government and third parties, and give a brief explanation of ‚Äútransitional provisions‚ÄĚ. This may help those new to HSE compliance, or provide a refresher for others.



Mandatory compliance obligations include all legislation that applies to your operations (Commonwealth and state/territory) and may also include (as applicable):


  • Environmental local laws (administered by local councils)
  • Australian standards which are called up in legislation
  • Codes of practice and other documents called up in legislation
  • Site licences, permits, trade waste agreements/consents
  • Notices (from authorities)
  • Internal corporate requirements and targets (these are often mandatory)
  • Contracts with third parties (eg. waste disposal contracts)





Non-mandatory compliance obligations may include (as applicable):


  • Codes of practice, guidelines and other documents published by government that are not called up in legislation
  • Australian and ISO standards not called up in legislation
  • Voluntary undertakings to government (these may become mandatory upon signing)
  • Undertakings given in response to specific needs and expectations of interested parties
  • Targets (often voluntary, eg. energy reduction, water use reduction, recycling).



Transitional provisions


When an Act is passed by parliament, or a regulation signed into law, it may come into operation (ie. become mandatory) immediately. More commonly however, it will come into operation on a prescribed date, and individual sections of the legislation may come into operation on different dates. These are called “transitional provisions”.


Transitional provisions provide a grace period, giving organisations time to take the actions needed to comply to the new legislation. The appropriate transition dates are included in each piece of legislation.