Environmental auditing

Q&A on environmental auditors


Q&A on environmental auditors + Expand all Collapse all

  • Are all environmental auditors appointed by EPA?

    Only EPA-appointed auditors can undertake statutory environmental audits as defined under the Environment Protection Act.

  • What is the difference between auditors and consultants?

    Environmental auditors are appointed by EPA under the Environment Protection Act. They are highly qualified and skilled individuals who have met strict EPA criteria and guidelines when applying to become an appointed auditor.

    Appointed environmental auditors provide independent advice, identifying whether there is a need or opportunity for improving the environmental quality of a site or industrial process with respect to pollution. The auditor is held accountable for any audit report or associated documents they prepare.

    ‘Environmental consultant’ is a more general term for an environmental professional who has expertise in environmental science or engineering – for example, in land and groundwater contamination. They undertake assessments, studies and cleanup programs for land and groundwater-contaminated sites on behalf of clients and provide results that can be used by an environmental auditor for a statutory audit.

  • What should a consultant provide to an auditor?

    A consultant engaged by a site owner or occupier is expected to provide the auditor with sufficient data for the auditor to determine the nature and extent of contamination or the harm posed by the polluting activity. This may, for example, include results from soil sampling and analysis. However, the auditor may also choose to collect additional data independently to satisfy their own requirements in preparing the environmental audit report.

    The consultant should liaise directly with the auditor to ensure that the sampling and analysis undertaken for the assessment will meet the auditor’s requirements for preparing the certificate or statement of environmental audit and associated audit report.

    An environmental auditor will inform the client if a consultant is required to undertake further work, such as if a cleanup of the site is needed.

  • What if I have a dispute with an auditor?

    Engaging an auditor is a task that should be undertaken carefully, just as when buying any professional service. It is important to clarify all arrangements and management of potential issues through a written agreement.

    If you believe an auditor has not performed to the standard required, or in the manner agreed in your contract, you may choose to inform EPA.

    Environmental auditor appointment and conduct (publication 865) sets out the process for EPA to investigate complaints made against auditors.

  • How often does EPA employ new auditors?

    The process for appointment of environmental auditors is usually conducted every two or three years. The decision also takes into consideration market demand for an increase in the number of auditors.

    Environmental auditor appointment and conduct (Publication 865) sets out the process for appointing auditors.

  • How often are auditors reviewed?

    Auditors are generally appointed for an initial two-year period. Subsequent appointment periods vary but are usually for two or five years, depending on the nature and extent of auditing conducted in the previous period. EPA maintains an environmental audit system quality assurance program, to monitor auditor conduct and compliance with the Act and EPA guidelines.

    EPA may review an auditor following non-compliance or in response to a complaint about their conduct. The review may result in EPA suspending, revoking or imposing conditions on an auditor’s appointment, as outlined in the Environment Protection Act 1970 and Environmental auditor appointment and conduct (publication 865).

  • How do I go about selecting an auditor?

    EPA maintains a list of appointed auditors covering three categories – contaminated land, industrial facilities and natural resources. EPA does not provide recommendations for the engagement of auditors.

    See Engaging an auditor for a list of points to consider when finding and engaging an auditor.

  • What does ‘independent’ mean when referring to an auditor?

    Being ‘independent’ means that an auditor cannot generally:

    • rely merely on the opinions, conclusions or reports about the site prepared by consultants engaged by the client
    • be directly involved in the design or implementation of cleanup or management of the site
    • issue a certificate or statement of environmental audit if he/she has given a prior opinion about the site (for example, if the auditor has been involved in the site assessment)
    • be an advocate for the client in arguing a lesser case for the level of site assessment or remediation to be undertaken.
  • Are there any restrictions when engaging an auditor?

    An auditor must not be engaged by any company responsible for the site assessment or remediation works, even if they are project managers for the assessment, cleanup or redevelopment works.

Page last updated on 3 Dec 2013