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The Australian Government, individuals, and organisations need to work together to implement effective measures to ensure that Australia responsibly exports goods, software and technology that could assist the proliferation of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD – nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery).  Australia's legislative controls on the export, supply, publication and brokering of proliferation-sensitive goods, software and technology contribute to this key counter-proliferation objective.

Organisations can implement an internal export control compliance program to assist them to meet their obligations under Australia's export control legislation.  An effective export control compliance program will assist an organisation to:

  • comply with its legal obligations;
  • promote a positive image;
  • mitigate the prospect of penalties;
  • ensure a strong risk management system within the organisation; and
  • most importantly, contribute to Australia's efforts to reduce the proliferation of weapons.

Employees or members of organisations who deal with proliferation-sensitive goods and technology also have a responsibility to comply with Australia's export controls.  An organisation can help its employees / members meet their responsibilities by implementing an appropriate compliance framework which outlines clear policies and procedures that will enable organisational compliance with export controls. Smaller organisations and individuals who deal with proliferation-sensitive items (e.g. sole traders) while not always having the resources to implement a full suite of policies and procedures, may also find elements of such a framework useful.

Guidance is available on the Export Control Compliance Program page. This guidance is offered to assist organisations, and individuals to develop an effective compliance program, based on their individual circumstances.

Non-compliance with Export Control laws

We know that mistakes happen! From time to time people may identify that they have exported or supplied goods, software or technology without a permit, or have incorrectly used a permit.  If this happens, you should notify DEC as soon as possible.

DEC takes a graduated approach to compliance.  It is in Australia's national interest for Australian exporters to be both willing and able to comply with export controls.  Therefore, DEC's focus is on working with exporters to prevent and address compliance breaches.  Repeated non-compliance can result in permits being subject to stronger compliance conditions, revocation of permits, or referral for criminal prosecution.  

DEC often gets asked, 'If export control laws are breached, who is likely to be prosecuted, the organisation or the employee / member?' This decision will ultimately be made by the prosecuting authority (e.g. the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions) and it will depend on the facts of a particular case. Some factors that may be considered will include: if a permit has been issued; who is the holder of the permit; does the organisation have effective export control compliance policies and procedures; did an employee / member ignore or act outside of the organisation's policy and procedures.

How can Defence Export Controls assist you?

DEC provides a number of resources to assist you to comply with export control laws: