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Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

Public Communique March 2015

Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

On 13 November 2012 the Defence Trade Control Act 2012 (the Act) received Royal Assent, putting in place new measures to control the transfer of defence and strategic goods technologies and bringing Australia in to line with international best practice.

In order to strengthen Australia’s export controls, and to stop technology that can be used in conventional and weapons of mass destruction from getting into the wrong hands, the Act includes provisions regulating:

  • intangible supply of technology relating to defence and strategic goods, such as supply by electronic means; and
  • brokering the supply of DSGL goods and technology.

Some examples of intangible means are email, fax, telephone, video conferencing, providing access to electronic files, or presentations that contain DSGL technology. The provisions apply equally to the industry, university and research sectors.

During a two year transition period, Defence worked closely with stakeholders to address concerns with the Act. As a result, amendments to the Act were adopted through the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015.

The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015 (DTC Amendment Bill) received Royal Assent on 2 April 2015 meaning that:

  • the offence provisions of the DTC Act for supplying and publishing DSGL technology and for brokering DSGL goods and technology will not come into force until the end of a 12 month implementation period that will expire on 1 April 2016
  • Individuals and organisations do not need to seek permits for any activities that will occur during the implementation period and;
  • Individuals and organisations will be able to apply for permits from 16 May 2015 in preparation for the offence provisions coming into force on 2 April 2016.

The offence provisions will not be applied retrospectively.

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, will continue to work closely with the Department of Defence throughout the implementation period. The Steering Group will help 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.

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 is available on the ComLaw website