Defence Trade Controls Act

How defence trade controls affect your research, and the broad exceptions to controls

The Defence Trade Controls Act puts in place new measures to control the transfer of defence and strategic goods technologies to ensure exports of such proliferation‐sensitive technology are consistent with Australia’s security interests and international obligations.

In order to strengthen Australia's export controls, and to stop technology getting into the wrong hands, the Act includes provisions regulating:

  • Intangible supply of technology relating to defence and strategic goods, such as supply by electronic means; and
  • Brokering the supply of Defence and Strategic Goods (DSGL) goods and technology.

Some examples of intangible means are email, fax, telephone, video conferencing, providing access to electronic files, or presentations that contain DSGL technology.

The provisions apply equally to industry, university and research sectors.

Do I need a permit for my research?

A permit from Defence Export Controls (DEC) is required when an export, supply, brokering or publishing activity is controlled and the goods, software or technology are listed in the DSGL, unless there is an exemption.

If you are conducting research that may be classified as a ‘controlled activity’ and you intend to export the results of your research you may need to have a Permit

To establish whether your research is ‘controlled’ use the DSGL Online Self Assessment Tool.

DEC also provides training modules that contain information relevant to research and academia. For more information on permissions and related documentation please visit the understanding the control status of goods and technology page.

If after using the online tool you are still not sure whether there are ‘controlled’ aspects to your research, submit an Application for DSGL Assessment. (This is not an application for a permit. This application is only for the purpose of seeking advice as to whether goods, software or technology are controlled by the DSGL)

If you believe your research requires a Permit, please contact  Professor Aaron Russell on 03 925 17397 (or via email at as there may be a Permit already in place that will cover your research.

If you still require a Permit, apply by submitting an Application to Export Controlled Goods and Technology form.

What are controlled goods and technologies?

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) is a compilation of military and commercial goods and technologies that Australia regulates. These items either have a military use, or can be used to develop weapons of mass destruction. This list includes the controlled goods and technologies that require a permit to export under the DTCA. This list is available through the Defence Export Controls Office.

The list is in two parts and includes:

Part 1: Controlled military items
Goods and technologies designed or adapted for military purposes or those that are inherently lethal, incapacitating or destructive

Part 2: Control Duel use Items

Commercial equipment, software and technologies that have a “dual use” and may be used or adapted for use in a military program, for the development or production of a military system or weapons of mass destruction, or contribute to the development and production of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

What do you mean by export, supply, publication and brokering?

Export - Typically tangible items are exported when sent overseas by ship, aircraft, post, courier, or as checked-in or hand-held luggage. It includes software and technology, such as diagrams and notes, that are sent overseas in a medium such as CD, DVD, USB, computer hard drive or on paper.

Exports can be permanent (eg for sale to a foreign buyer), or temporary (eg for demonstration, exhibition, use at a conference or workshop, repair by the original equipment manufacturer, or for competition and sporting activities)

Supply - is the act of intangibly sending, communicating, or providing access to, technology to a person outside Australia.

Publication is the act of placing DSGL technology or software in the public domain.

Brokering is when a person acts as an agent or intermediary in arranging the supply of DSGL listed goods and technology between two or more places located outside Australia. Research benefit is not a benefit for the purposes of the brokering control.

Record Keeping and reporting requirements

Both the Customs Act 1901 and the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 require exporters to maintain records for five (5) years. The Defence Trade Controls Regulation 2013 (Part 6) specifies the sort of information which you must keep on record, including:

  • a description of the goods or DSGL technology you supplied or brokered under the permit
  • the permit number
  • details of the person receiving the goods or DSGL technology
  • details of the person arranging the supply (i.e. brokering)
  • the date or period of dates over which the goods or DSGL technology will be provided.

Records must be kept for 5 years. It is the responsibility of permit holders to maintain accurate records.

There are different record-keeping requirements for supply or brokering activities. You should check your approval document for specific details.

For further information please contact DEC.

Deakin Reporting requirements:

Deakin University requires permit holders to provide a report every 3 months to the Export Controls Officer, Professor Aaron Russell.

This report will only require the permit number and the number of occasions of supply that have occurred within the preceding 3 months - due at the end of each quarter, ie March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and Dec 31st.

Quick Guides, Training Materials and FAQ

Quick Guides, Training materials and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Defence Export Controls Website.

Need Help

Should you have any queries please contact DEC on 1800 66 10 66 or +61 2 626 67222 or exportcontrols@defence.gov.au. Deakin University's specific DEC contact is Ye Lee (Phone: (02) 6265 1940 or Email: ye.lee@defence.gov.au).

Alternatively contact Deakin’s Export Controls Officer, Professor Aaron Russell on 03 925 17397 (or via email.

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