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Export Controls and Your Rights

Privacy and Information Handling in DEC

Information provided to Defence Export Controls (DEC) in an export application is handled in accordance with the Commonwealth legislative requirements in the Privacy Act 1988, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Archives Act 1983.

Employees of the Commonwealth agencies, including the Department of Defence, also have obligations and duties under the Public Service Act 1999 and Public Service Regulations 1999, the Crimes Act 1914 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 to treat your information in a secure and confidential manner.

We protect your information through a series of measures, including:

  • procedural: appropriate handling, transmission and access restricted to suitably cleared employees
  • physical: secure storage and access to work area
  • technical: firewalls and encryption

We also adhere to the 'need to know' principle, where official information is only made available to Defence employees and contractors who need to use or access the information to do their work. To reduce the risk of unauthorised disclosure, we ensure that only those persons with a proven 'need to know' and an appropriate security clearance gain access to your information.

As part of our decision making processes, your information may be shared with other Australian government agencies including, but not limited to:

  • the Australian Border Force
  • the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • the Department of Industry
  • law enforcement agencies
  • intelligence agencies

Your information may also be disclosed as required or authorised by law: for example, in response to a court subpoena requiring the Department of Defence to produce certain documents, or where the information is reasonably necessary for a law enforcement activity.

We may also provide information about proposed or past exports, as part of Australia's reporting and consultation obligations to our international regime partners. These disclosures would be in relation to specific technologies or transactions, and would be based upon national security concerns within Australia or impacting our international regime partners. We will not disclose your personal or business information beyond these circumstances without your consent, or unless authorised by law.

Our export application forms include a Privacy Statement which outlines how Defence will use your information and to whom it will be disclosed. Defence's privacy policy is available on the Defence website.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

Information on export applications held by the Department of Defence is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). Unless one of the exemptions in the FOI Act applies, information may be provided to an applicant if requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

FOI requests are actioned by the FOI Directorate within the Department of Defence. Decisions regarding requests for access will be made by an authorised officer in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Each FOI request is assessed on a case-by-case basis and careful consideration is given to any applicable exemptions before a decision is made.

If you have any questions regarding our information handling and privacy procedures, please feel free to contact us on 1800 661 066 or via email to

Right to Review

A range of review mechanisms apply to export decisions made by the Defence Minister or a delegate. The review mechanism that is available will depend on the specific decision. When an adverse decision is made, we will notify you in writing and provide reasons for the decision, and advice on your review rights.

Review mechanisms that may be available include:

Depending on the nature of your concern, you can also contact:

Procedural Fairness Requirements

The information below describes our procedural fairness measures, when administering export control legislation.


Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

The applicant lodges their application through the online Defence Export Control System. DEC acknowledges the receipt of the application and advises that target assessment timeframes are 15 working days for standard cases, and 35 working days for complex cases, although some cases may take longer.

Procedural fairness measures

When you lodge an application, we email you acknowledging receipt and advise indicative timeframes.

Technical Assessment

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

Our technical assessors determine whether the item is controlled by the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL), or if it may be subject to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (WMD Act) or the Military End-Use (MEU) provision of the Customs Act 1901.

Procedural fairness measures

Technical assessors may contact the applicant for further technical details to inform their assessment.

Risk Assessment

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

Our risk assessors consider if the application might meet any legislative criteria for refusal or prohibition or the five export policy criteria. More complex or sensitive applications are referred to other areas across Government, to seek input from relevant subject matter experts and policy areas.

Procedural fairness measures

We will keep you informed, if target timeframes will not be met. We will notify you if your case is complex. This notification will take the form of a letter that advises you of the non-classified aspects of the assessment. The letter will invite you to provide additional information to support your case. We will provide the technical assessment as an attachment to the letter.

Executive Decision

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

The DEC executive team reviews all applications, and provides approval for most. The decision maker must be impartial and must have no personal stake in the case. If there are concerns about your application, we will notify you and allow you to respond and present arguments in a written submission, before advice is prepared for the Minister for Defence. Only the Minister for Defence can refuse or prohibit a case.

Procedural fairness measures

Before we reach a preliminary finding and recommend to the Minister that an application should be denied or prohibited, we will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the case and make any further submissions. For application approvals, we consult with you before imposing non-standard conditions.


Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

We will send the permit or outcome of the decision to you by email. If permits have conditions, permit holders must comply with these and submit reports as indicated.

Procedural fairness measures

If the Minister denies or prohibits an application, you are provided with a written decision setting out the reasons for the decision and any review rights.

Further information on the Government's export control policy is available on the Export Control Policy page of this website.

Other Australian Government agencies involved in the administration of export control legislation include the Australian Border Force, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Industry, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.