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Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995

Important Note: If you have at any time any reason to believe or suspect that your goods or services may be used in a weapons of mass destruction program you need to immediately contact DEC . You must not proceed with the export or supply of goods, or the provision of services, without first discussing the reasons for the belief or suspicion with DEC.
Soldiers patrol in nuclear, chemical and biological protection suits

Australia's national export control system extends to any goods, technologies and services that could be used in a WMD program. Such items and services are controlled by the Weapons of Mass Destruction(Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (WMD Act). Defence is responsible for administration of the WMD Act and its associated regulations.

The WMD Act provides for the control of exports where there is a belief or suspicion that the export may be used in, or assist a WMD program.

The WMD 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:

  • the supply of goods or services both within and outside Australia for a WMD program;
  • the export of goods and technologies which are not controlled under other legislation and where there is a belief or suspicion that the goods may be used in a WMD program; and
  • the provision of services within and external to Australia, where there is a belief or suspicion that they will or may potentially assist a WMD program.

Goods and materials which have high strength or high resistance to heat and/or corrosion, or equipment which includes parts/components with these qualities, may be sought for use in WMD programs.  The controlled end-use of these goods is not limited to the materials or components that may be used in weapons themselves, but extends to the materials or components that may be used in the support, development and precursor activities associated with a WMD program, such as power generation equipment used to supply a WMD facility.

The WMD Act binds Australian citizens and persons normally resident in Australia. The WMD Act also binds bodies incorporated in Australia or an external Territory whether doing business in Australia or overseas, as well as foreigners doing business in Australia. Corporate bodies are deemed to have the state of mind of their directors, servants or agents if those directors, servants or agents are acting within the scope of their actual or potential authority.

Further information on how to work with Defence to ensure compliance with the WMD Act is available on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act Guide page.