Independent Review of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (DTC Act) requires that a review of the legislation be undertaken two years after the commencement of offence provisions and afterwards at intervals of no longer than five years. The offence provisions of the DTC Act came into force from 1 April 2016.

In accordance with the legislation, an independent review (the Review) of the DTC Act was conducted in 2018 by Dr Vivienne Thom AM. The Review assessed whether the DTC Act provides appropriate levels of regulation and security for controlled technologies, aligns with international best practice for export controls, and is not unnecessarily restricting trade, research and international collaboration. 

The Review received 75 submissions and engaged in extensive consultation with stakeholders from government, industry, research and university sectors, and peak bodies.

The report of the Review was tabled in Parliament on 13 February 2019.

The Review made nine recommendations regarding:

  • The administration of the DTC Act
  • Gaps in the Act’s controls
  • Regulatory overreach

The Governmentsupportedall nine 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.

In 2019, Defence undertook targeted initial consultation in Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. All stakeholders who made submissions to the Review, or who indicated an interest in participating, were invited to these sessions.

In 2020, Defence established the DTC Act Review Implementation Working Group, chaired by Dr Vivienne Thom, consisting of government, industry, research and university representatives to develop practical risk-based proposals to inform Defence proposals to reform the legislation. The Working Group met for the first time in April and is expected to meet again in late 2020.

Defence also continues to consult across government to ensure proposals are aligned, integrated and coherent with related initiatives. Although COVID-19 mitigations have slowed progress, Defence believes that legislative amendments will be progressed in 2021 depending on parliamentary priorities.