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Exports from Australia are controlled through the Customs Act 1901, the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995. If you don't comply with this legislation, you may be fined or imprisoned.  Goods that you attempted to export, and the equipment you used to transport them, may be forfeited.

Our goal at DEC is to work with exporters to help you avoid breaking the rules in the first place.  If the Australian Border Force, or any other enforcement body takes action against people or companies, these are the penalties that could be imposed:

Breaches of the Customs Act 1901:

  • The unlawful export of controlled goods specified in the DSGL is subject to a fine not exceeding 2,500 penalty units ($A450,000) or imprisonment for 10 years, or both.
  • The goods, and any conveyance used for their unlawful export, may be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth. There are also penalties for giving false information when applying for a permit or licence.
  • A permit or licence may be revoked by the Minister for Defence, if you fail to comply with any conditions that were applied to it, and you may be penalised.

Breaches of the WMD Act 1995

  • A penalty of imprisonment for up to 8 years.
  • Any attempt to export goods can result in forfeiture of those goods.

Breaches relating to Sanctions

When sanctions are implemented under the Customs Act 1901, penalties apply to individuals and the body corporate, and can include imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine.

Under the Criminal Code Act 1995

Any person who makes a false or misleading statement in an application for a permit, licence or certificate may:

  • Be prosecuted for an offence under Section 136.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995; and
  • If convicted face a maximum penalty 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine of $10,800 (60 penalty units) for an individual, or $54,000 (300 penalty units) for a corporation.
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