Inspection report details
Licence holder:Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR)
Location inspected:Norfolk Island
Licence number: S0120
Date of inspection:19 May 2021
Report number: R21/05729

This inspection was conducted as part of ARPANSA’s baseline inspection program to assess compliance with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 1999 (the Regulations), and conditions of the Source Licence S0120. 

The scope of the inspection included an assessment of Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ (DAWR) performance at the Australia Post site and the airport on Norfolk Island against the Source Performance Objectives and Criteria. The inspection consisted of a review of records, interviews, and physical inspection of sources.  


DAWR is authorised under section 33 of the Act to deal with baggage inspection X-ray units. These controlled apparatus are owned by the Department of Home Affairs and are used jointly by both the Department of Home Affairs – Australian Border Force (DHA-ABF) and DAWR in support of mail and parcel screening at the Australia Post handling facility and the airport on Norfolk Island.

The main codes and standards applicable to these apparatus are those that appear in section 59 of the Regulations and: 

  • Radiation Health Series 21: Statement on cabinet X-ray equipment for examination of letters, packages, baggage, freight and other articles for security, quality control and other purposes (1987) (RHS21).


In general, the management and operation of the controlled apparatus at both sites was found to be satisfactory.

DAWR is required to fulfil its reporting commitments to ARPANSA by submission of a quarterly report, in the approved format and within 28 days of the end of the financial year with information about compliance for the previous quarter. The reports submitted by DAWR for 2020-2021 contained information about compliance and were submitted in a timely manner with no issues. DAWR’s reports indicated that plans and arrangement have been reviewed in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Effective control

Accountabilities and responsibilities 

DAWR’s Melbourne based Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) manages all reporting and training requirements for DAWR staff and all relevant documentation was provided to ARPANSA for review before the inspection.

Day to day management of the X-ray units on Norfolk Island is under primary control of the DHA-ABF with screening operations conducted jointly with both agencies. One screening unit is used at the Norfolk Island Australia Post facility for all inbound air and sea freight and a second unit is used for border control operations at the Norfolk Island Airport.

Documentation and document control

DAWR’s plans and arrangements for managing safety were considered satisfactory for Norfolk Island baggage X-ray operations.  

Serial numbers for both units corresponded with DAWR’s source inventory workbook.

Safety management

Training and education

DAWR requires that all staff who conduct X-ray screening receive appropriate training in radiation safety and use/operation of the X-ray units. Training on systems and safety is delivered on-line and managed in-house by DAWR. The senior DHA-ABF officer, a qualified Competency Assessment Training Officer under DHA-ABF’s operational structure, provides further local on-site equipment familiarisation training on Norfolk Island. Staff training records were seen during the inspection.

Radiation protection

The control panel of each X-ray unit was key operated and a separate switch was fitted for control of the X-ray beam. The keys are held by DHA-ABF staff with a spare key located at the airport office. 

Both X-ray units were found to be in a satisfactory condition. Warning lights and signs meeting the requirements of RHS21 were fitted to both X-ray units. Emergency stop buttons were located at both the entry and exit ports and at the control panel. Leaded curtains were also fitted to the entry and exit ports to provide shielding.

Workplace procedures and operating instructions were provided by the manufacturer of the X-ray unit. DHA-ABF / DAWR’s calibration testing procedures and maintenance records were held with DHA-ABF staff at the Australia Post facility and were seen during the inspection.  


The licence holder was found to comply with the requirements of the Act, the Regulations, and licence conditions. 

The inspection revealed no areas for improvement.

Access to information FOI disclosure log Information public scheme