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Understand Strengthened Export Controls

Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

Australia's export control system for defence and dual-use goods aims to stop goods and technology that can be used in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, or military goods and technology, from getting into the wrong hands.

Through international counter-proliferation and export control regimes, Australia works with other like-minded countries to identify and regulate sensitive military and dual-use technologies, which are compiled in a Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL).

The export of DSGL technology outside Australia by tangible means, (for example, physical hardware and equipment, hard copy files, CD, USB drive and laptop) was already controlled under Regulation 13E of the Customs (Prohibited Export) Regulations 1958 and required a permit from Defence Export Controls.

For example, a permit is required to export controlled information in an electronic format (for example, on a USB device) being taken in a person's physical possession across Australia's borders.

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 was introduced in November 2012 to regulate circumstances where a person supplies, or provides access to, DSGL technology from Australia to a place outside Australia by intangible means.

Some examples of intangible means are email, fax, telephone, video conferencing, providing access to electronic files, or presentations that contain DSGL technology.

It is important to note that the purpose of the changes to Australia's export controls for defence and dual-use goods is not to impede trade, innovation, research or international collaboration, but rather to ensure they accord with Australia's strategic, security and foreign policy objectives.

More information on the Act is available on the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 page.

Brokering of Export Controlled Goods and Technologies

Brokering of Part 1 (Munitions List) Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) goods, software or technology is regulated and requires a permit from DEC before the brokering activity can occur. A permit for the brokering of Part 2 (Dual-Use List) DSGL goods, software and technology is only required if you know or are reckless or negligent as to whether the goods, software or technology being brokered are for a 'military end use' or a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program.

More information on brokering in available on the Brokering of Export Controlled Goods and Technologies page.

Supply of Export Controlled Goods and Technologies

Supply occurs when a 'person' in 'Australia' provides Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) Technology -to another person outside of Australia. Examples of 'Supply' include supply via email or fax, or by providing someone outside of Australia with passwords to access controlled technology stored electronically.

If the supply of DSGL technology is from Australia to a place outside of Australia, the supply is controlled, even if you believe the recipient already has knowledge of the controlled information being supplied. The supply of DSGL technology to the recipient will require a permit unless exceptions apply. Each supply of DSGL technology needs to be covered by a permit (this could be a broad permit to cover a project or supplies occurring over a period of time).

More information on supply is available on the Supply of Export Controlled Goods and Technologies page.

Publication of Export Controlled Technology

Publication is when Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) Technology - 'DSGL technology' - is made available to the public or to a section of the public via the internet or otherwise. Publication controls apply to anyone in 'Australia', or an Australian citizen or resident or Australian organisation located anywhere in the world.

The publication of Part 1 (Munitions List) DSGL technology is regulated and requires approval from Defence Export Controls (DEC) before publication can occur. The publication of Part 2 (Dual-Use List) DSGL technology is not regulated; no approval is required from DEC. However, the Minister for Defence can prohibit the publication of Part 2 (Dual-Use List) DSGL technology if the Minister reasonably believes the publication would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia.

More information on publication is available on the Publication of Export Controlled Technology page.

Oversight

A Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group was appointed by the Minister for Defence to consider the effect of the controls to ensure that the Act struck an appropriate balance between meeting Australia's international obligations and national security requirements, while not unnecessarily restricting trade, the competitiveness of affected sectors, innovation, research or international collaboration.

More information on the Steering Group is available on the Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group page.

Pilot Programs

The Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group conducted eight separate pilots across a two-year transition period to test and evaluate the impact of the new controls on the research and industry sectors, specifically the strengthened export controls provisions covering the intangible supply and brokering of controlled goods and technology.

More information on the pilots is available on the Strengthened Export Controls Pilot Program page.

Communicating with Stakeholders

The Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group chaired by Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC, and made up of senior representatives from industry, research and government, continued to work closely with the Department of Defence throughout the 12 month implementation period.

The Steering Group helped to ensure the new controls fulfil Australia's international obligations and national security requirements, while not unnecessarily restricting trade, research and international collaboration or reducing the international competitiveness of the research sector.

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