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.
While submissions closed 31 May 2018, Defence aims to continue working closely with the stakeholders as they establish internal compliance arrangements, by providing implementation support through outreach and engagement sessions.
Scope: The act is required to be reviewed after two years and is being carried out by Dr Thom, the former inspector-general of intelligence and security and a former deputy Commonwealth ombudsman overseeing law enforcement, immigration, taxation and defence agencies.
The review is mandated by section 74B of the act:
- The minister must cause a review of the operation of this act (other than parts three and four) 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 five years.
- The persons undertaking the review must give the minister a written report of the review.
- 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 three and four – that relate to the Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty between Australia and the US – 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.
Roundtable discussions for the review of the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 are being held on the following dates:
- Sydney - Monday 6 August;
- Brisbane - Tuesday 7 August;
- Melbourne - Monday 13 August;
- Perth - Wednesday 22 August;
- Adelaide - Thursday 23 August; and
- Canberra - Tuesday 28 August.
More information on the review process is available here.