DEC recognises that for those who are new to Australia’s export control legislation, compliance can be challenging. Even individuals and companies committed to fulfilling their responsibilities may unintentionally commit breaches. Our first priority is to work with entities to identify the causes of a breach and to help them put measures in place to prevent future recurrences.

DEC’s response to non-compliance will depend on the specific context of a breach. Factors that may be considered include:

  • whether the entity came forward with a timely, accurate and comprehensive disclosure
  • causes of the breach, whether due to deliberate intent, negligence or lack of understanding
  • risks to Australia’s national interest and international obligations arising from the breach
  • whether the breach was an isolated event or a recurring issue
  • any export and compliance history, including commitment to internal compliance procedures of an appropriate standard
  • efforts made to redress the breach and level of cooperation with DEC.

DEC encourages exporters to voluntarily disclose when an error or breach has been made. When an exporter is willing to engage with export controls and is attempting to do the right thing, DEC's response to non-compliance will generally reflect the level of cooperation displayed.

If you believe you have been non-compliant, we recommend you disclose this immediately. Voluntary disclosure demonstrates an intention to comply with export control obligations and is an important basis for DEC's regulatory relationships.

DEC’s assessment of the circumstances of a breach will inform the steps taken to address it. DEC may request records from entities related to their activities under the Defence Trade Control Act 2012 (DTC Act) to enable DEC to accurately assess the scope and implications of a breach.

DEC’s goal is to take fair and proportionate action that helps entities avoid breaches in the future. Depending on the circumstances, DEC may initially take one or both of the following corrective actions:

  • provide guidance on how to prevent future breaches, including encouraging an entity to improve their compliance procedures;
  • increase checks to ensure appropriate use of permits, licences or Australian Community Membership.

DEC’s preferred approach to managing non-compliance is one of prevention, by assisting entities to improve their compliance procedures. However, in some circumstances, DEC may initiate more formal corrective measures, including:

  • formal warning letters;
  • new and/or more restrictive conditions on permits (including broker registrations);
  • prohibition notices to prevent the export, supply, publication or brokering of goods and technologies;
  • suspension or cancellation of Australian Community Membership; and/or
  • cancellation of permits and broker registrations.

DEC may also refer severe or repeated cases of non-compliance to enforcement agencies together with recommendations for investigations, inspections and other possible punitive action. More information on what agencies DEC partners with and possible penalties for non-compliance can be found on our Breaches page.