Defence Trade Controls Act

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.

How does the defence trade controls affect your research?

You will be required to apply for a permit from Defence Export Controls (DEC) when your research involves a:

  1. a controlled activity (export, supply, brokering or publishing)  AND
  2. a controlled goods software or technology listed on the DGSL, unless there is an DSGL exemption

Control threshold = the material is only controlled if it provides the necessary information to allow another person to develop, produce, or in some cases, use the technology.

What is considered a "controlled activity"

Export - sending DSGL technology or information to source outside Australia in physical form, such as material items, hard copyfiles, on a CD, USB or laptop

Supply - when a person in Australia provides DSGL technology another person outside of Australia. Examples include supply via email or fax, or by providing someone outside of Australia with passwords to access controlled technology stored electronically.

Publication - Part 1 (Military Items) DSGL technology being made available to the public or to a section of the public via the internet or otherwise. Publication controls apply to anyone in Australia or an Australian citizen or resident or Australian organisation located anywhere in the world. (publication of Part 2 DSGL is not regulated and does not require a permit)

Brokering - is when a person acts as a 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.

What are controlled goods and technologies?

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) is a list of controlled goods and technologies that require a permit to export under the DTCA. This list is available through the Defence Export Controls Office.

Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) include:

Part 1: Controlled military items

military items designed or adapted for military purposes or those that are inherently lethal incapacitating or destructive; and

Part 2: Control Duel use Items

commercial items and technologies that may be used or adapted for use in military program or contribute to the development and production of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons systems. Including the following categories:

  • 0 - Nuclear Materials
  • 1 - Materials, Chemicals, Microoganisms and Toxins
  • 2 - Materials Processing
  • 3 - Electronics
  • 4 - Computers
  • 5 - Telecommunications and Information Security
  • 6 - Sensors and Lasers
  • 7 - Navigation and Avionics
  • 8 - Marine
  • 9 - Aerospace and Propulsion

Important: Technology is only controlled if it meets the high threshold of being that very specific technology that is particularly responsible for achieving or extending controlled performance levels, characteristics or functions.

DSGL Exemptions

The DSGL contains a number of exemptions that can apply to technology that may otherwise be controlled. These include that is:

  • in the public domain - if the technology is already available to the public (for example, in publications, product brochures and public blogs, websites, podcasts or databases). Applies to all DSGL.
  • a pre-publication activity of dual use technology (Part 2 DSGL) - pre-publication activities for Part 2 DSGL technology to persons outside Australia, such as sending a draft publication overseas to a co-author, colleague or expert for comment, or sending a draft publication to or from a peer reviewer or journal editor will not require a permit.
  • basic scientific research - any technology which extends only to a 'fundamental principles of phenomena or observable facts', falls within the definition of basic scientific research. Applies to all DSGL.
  • the minimum necessary information for patent applications (excluding military nuclear technology). Applies to all DSGL technology.
  • medical equipment specifically designed for medical end-use Applies to Part 2 DSGL.
  • oral supply* of DSGL technology (for example, telephone conversations, video conferences, live streaming, or webinars).

*Important: oral supply exemption does not apply where a verbal supply include orally providing a username and password to allow a person to access controlled technology via a restricted online database.

Do I need a permit for my research?

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

All staff and students and other relevant personnel undertaking research are responsible for ensuring whether a permit is required for working with DSGL technology.

To determine if a permit is required, the following steps should be undertaken:

  1. Conduct a DSGL search to determine if the goods, software or technology is listed in the DSGL
  2. Complete the "Activity Questionnaire" self assessment tool to determine if an activity is controlled
  3. Check whether any DSGL exemptions applies
  4. If after using the online tool you are still not sure whether there are ‘controlled’ aspects to your research, contact the University Defence Export Control Officer (Professor Saeid Nahavandi)
  5. If you are uncertain on whether a permit is required, you can also 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)
  6. If a permit is required, you must apply by submitting an Application to Export Controlled Goods and Technology form
Controlled ActivityControlled Military Items (DSGL Part 1)Controlled dual-use items (DSGL Part 2)
Exportpermit requiredpermit required
Supplypermit requiredpermit required
Publishingapproval by Minister of Defenceno permit
Brokeringpermit requiredno permit (unless military end-use)

Examples of Permit Research Scenarios

  • International peer review - sending raw data to a publisher/peer oversees for review of a draft publication, if the content includes Part 1 DSGL technology
  • International review of a thesis - if the thesis contains Part 1 DSGL technology and examiners, experts in the field, are based overseas
  • Presenting at a international conference - if you are taking your presentation containing DSGL technology outside of Australia in a tangible form (e.g powerpoint slides, printed hard copies or stored on a laptop or on a media storage device).
  • Carrying DSGL technology overseas - traveling overseas with a laptop and storage contains DSGL technology, even if you have no intention of providing the DSGL technology to anyone while overseas
  • Sharing unpublished research to persons overseas - sharing DSGL technology research results with people located outside of Australia
  • International research collaborations - if you wish to conduct a research project on DSGL technology with international collaborators
  • Pre-publishing activities - supplying a draft publication to a publisher or a peer reviewer located outside Australia, that has technology listed in the Part 1 DSGL
  • Publishing research findings - if you intend to publish research findings that includes Part 1 DSGL technology, you require approval from the Minister for Defence
  • Cloud or Server Sharing - sharing DSGL technology through a cloud or other document sharing tool may require a permit, if the person is supplying technology to a person located outside of Australia (this includes Deakin colleagues who are overseas)

Examples of Permit Teaching Scenarios

Note: Education materials at the undergraduate or 'masters by coursework levels' of study are highly unlikely to be controlled, as the material is likely to already be in the public domain.

  • Teaching at a University outside of Australia - if you intend to take DSGL technology on a laptop or media storage device to teach at a University outside of Australia
  • Online courses with students located overseas - if you are supplying DSGL technology that is not in the public domain in an online course that has enrolled students located overseas (this includes lecture recordings of DSGL technology)

Record Keeping

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 Saeid Nahavandi

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.

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.

Need Help

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

Alternatively contact Deakin’s Export Controls Officer, Professor Saeid Nahavandi on Tel: 03 5227 1231

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