Goods which are not controlled by being included on the Defence Strategic Goods List may still be subject to export controls, if the Minister for Defence believes they may be used in a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or be put to a Military End Use (MEU).
The MEU provisions of the Customs Act 1901 allow the Minister for Defence to prohibit exports, if he or she suspects that the export of particular goods to a particular place or person may be for a military end-use that would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia.
The Customs Act defines the term "military end-use" to mean that the goods are or may be for use in operations, exercises or other activities conducted by an armed force or an armed group, whether or not the armed force or armed group forms part of the armed forces of the government of a foreign country.
Goods, technologies and services that could be used in a WMD program are controlled by the Weapons of Mass Destruction(Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (WMD Act). The Act defines a WMD program as
a plan or program for the development, production, acquisition or stockpiling of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons or missiles capable of delivering such weapons.
The WMD Act applies to:
Prior to undertaking a transaction that may involve goods or services which could be used in an MEU or WMD program, you should conduct your own checks to be confident that the transaction won't contribute to such a program. We have prepared an example of a checklist you could use. You should also consider the customer with whom you are dealing, and we have prepared a guide on detecting suspicious approaches.
If your organisation is a regular exporter, we have developed and published several documents that are useful tools to help you set up an internal compliance program within your organisation, as well as questionnaires and checklists for your clients and yourself that help you in performing these checks.
As a minimum, DEC suggests that you:
If you suspect that a transaction you are about to enter into may result in the goods or services being used in an MEU or WMD program, then it is an offence to proceed with the transaction without a permit issued by the Minister for Defence, or their delegate. There are significant penalties that may be imposed if you are convicted of an offence.