On 13 November 2012, the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (DTC Act) received Royal assent, putting in place new measures to control the transfer of defence and strategic goods technologies and bringing Australia in line with international best practice.
The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015 received Royal assent on 2 April 2015.
The DTC Act provided for a review of its operation to begin as soon as possible after 2 April 2018.
In February 2018, Dr Vivienne Thom AM was appointed to conduct an Independent Review of the DTC Act (the Review).
The Review assessed whether the DTC Act was fit for purpose, whether it adequately safeguarded national defence capability, and whether it prevented trade and collaboration that could unwittingly advance the military capabilities of potential adversaries. It also identified gaps in the Act’s controls, any unintended consequences arising from the legislation (such as unnecessary regulatory burden), and any other relevant matters.
The Review received 75 submissions and Dr Thom met with stakeholders, including from government, industry, the research sector, the university sector and peak bodies.
Dr Thom submitted the report of the Review to the Minister for Defence and it was tabled in Parliament on 13 February 2019.
The Review made 9 recommendations related to:
- administration of the DTC Act
- gaps in the Act’s controls
- regulatory overreach.
The Government’s initial response to the Review was also tabled in which it supported all 9 recommendations.
Defence is implementing all of the 9 recommendations.
Defence is engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that amendments to the DTC Act provide appropriate levels of regulation and security for controlled technologies, align with international best practice for export controls and do not unnecessarily restrict trade, research and international collaboration.