Export Controls Compliance

Australia’s export control system places restrictions on the export of a range a defence and strategic goods and technology. The current export regime covers the export of physical goods and technology but is being expanded to include intangible transfers.

The Defence and Strategic Goods List

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) includes equipment, assemblies and components, associated test, inspection and production equipment, materials, software and technology. The DSGL is divided into two parts:

  1. Defence and related goods – those goods designed or adapted for use by armed forces or goods that are inherently lethal.
  2. Dual-use goods – those goods comprising equipment and technology developed to meet commercial needs but which may be used either as military components or for the development or production of military systems or weapons of mass destruction.

The DSGL contains exemptions relating to technology or software that is in the public domain and to basic scientific research.

Export of tangible goods

Under the Customs Act 1901 (Cth), tangible goods included in the DSGL may not be exported from Australia unless a licence or permission has been granted by the Minister for Defence, or an authorised person, and that licence or permission is produced to a Collector of Customs before exportation.

UNSW is registered as a client with the Australian Department of Defence under the Defence Export Control System (DECS) for the purpose of applying for permission or a licence to export tangible goods on the DSGL. 

UNSW staff intending to export goods that may be on the DSGL should, in the first instance, consult with the Director, Research Ethics and Compliance Support. All applications for a licence or permission to export goods on the DSGL must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) prior to submission to DGSL. DECO application forms can be viewed here

Export of intangible goods

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (Cth) was enacted to expand existing controls of defence and strategic goods to cover intangible transfer of DSGL technology. Under the Act, it is necessary to obtain a permit to:

  1. supply (or arrange a supply or provide access to) DSGL technology from a place inside Australia to a place outside Australia; and
  2. publish or otherwise disseminate DSGL technology to the public, or to a section of the public, by electronic means.

The provisions of the DTC Act are not yet in force, with a transition period running from May 2013 to May 2015 in order for affected industry sectors to implement appropriate compliance systems. The university sector is working with the Strengthened Export Controls Steering Group and the Department of Defence to develop an appropriate licence and permission approval system.

More information

More information on the above regimes can be found at the Defence Export Control Office (DECO) website.

Current News

The official public consultation website for the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2015 can be found at www.defence.gov.au/DECO/Consultation.asp. Here you will find the draft amended legislation, associated documentation including the draft Explanatory Memorandum, Regulatory Impact Statement and Defence Trade Controls Amendment (Decision Criteria) Regulation 2015. UNSW is closely involved in the consultation process. Please forward comments to Dr Ted Rohr at ted.rohr@unsw.edu.au.