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Delays and Denials

Problems at the planning stage

If there are concerns about an application, we will notify the applicant and allow them 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. Before we reach a preliminary finding and recommend to the Minister that an application be denied or prohibited, we will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the case and make any further submissions. Sometimes we may be able to work with you to identify changes that you can make to your proposed export or supply, which will make it possible for us to approve it.

If it is not possible for us to approve your request, and the Minister does deny it, we will tell you what your rights of review are — there are a range of mechanisms, depending on the specific decision. They might include:

  • an internal merits review within the Department of Defence
  • an external merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • a judicial review

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

  • the Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

What happens if your export is stopped by the Australian Border Force?

The Australian Border Force manages the security and integrity of Australia's borders by working closely with other government and international agencies to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border. They screen the movement of cargo across the border using a range of intelligence, targeting and profiling techniques. They investigate potential military end use of exports, and will refer exports to us for assessment to determine if the goods are controlled.

We will conduct an assessment of the goods using the same process as for an application. During the assessment process we may contact you to discuss the circumstances of the export and to seek further information on the transaction. During the assessment process, the ABF may hold the goods pending our assessment.

If we assess that the goods are not controlled, and cannot be used in a WMD program, we will advise the Australian Border Force, and they will make a decision on whether to release the goods for export. We will inform you, if our preliminary assessment is that the goods may be used in a WMD program. We will then continue our assessment of the export following the same process used for applications.

If you attempt to export controlled goods, software or technology without a valid permit, the ABF may prosecute you. Goods that are exported or supplied, or attempted to be exported or supplied, in contravention of the WMD Act are forfeited to the Commonwealth. An authorised person may, without warrant, seize any forfeited goods and take them before a court of summary jurisdiction. The court may decide to condemn the goods, which results in the goods being destroyed, or dealt with in another manner as determined by the Minister for Defence.