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Terms of Reference

Background

Defence administers controls on the export of military and dual-use goods and technologies through four key pieces of legislation.  The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 provides the legislative basis for the controls of the intangible supply, publication and brokering of defence and strategic goods and technology.  The Act was enacted in 2012 to strengthen Australia’s existing export controls and to align them with international best practice.

The Act underwent amendments in 2015 following extensive stakeholder consultation.  One such amendment included the addition of a mechanism to provide for review of the operation of the Act after two years of the offence provisions being commenced, which occurred on 2 April 2016.

Aim

The aim of the Review is to evaluate the operation of the DTC Act and deliver recommendations that ensure the Act is an effective component of Australia’s export control regime that appropriately addresses current and future national security requirements.

The Review will also aim to ensure the 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.

Scope

The Review is mandated by section 74B of the Act:

  1. The Minister must cause a review of the operation of this Act (other than Parts 3 and 4) to be undertaken as soon as possible after the second anniversary of the commencement of section 10 of this Act and afterwards at intervals of not longer than 5 years.
  2. The persons undertaking the review must give the Minister a written report of the review.
  3. The Minister must cause a copy of the report of the review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is given to the Minister.

The Review is limited to the operation of the Act but subsection 74B(1) specifically excludes Parts 3 and 4 ­­– that relate to the Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty between Australia and the United States of America – from scope of the review.

The Review will examine all other Parts of the Act to provide evidence-based, practical recommendations for improvements to the Act and supporting policy.  In particular, the Review will consider:

  • whether the Act is fit for purpose;
  • whether there are any gaps in the Act’s controls;
  • whether any unintended consequences are resulting from the Act’s controls; and
  • any other matters considered relevant.

Consultation and delivery
 
Stakeholder input on the operation and effectiveness of the Act is crucial to the review. Accordingly, the review will involve extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders, including relevant Federal Ministers and government agencies, and representatives from industry, higher education and research sectors. This will occur through consultation, the release of papers, and receipt of submissions to ensure stakeholder views are considered before making recommendations.

The Review’s final report will be provided to the Minister for Defence.