Defence Trade Controls

About Defence Trade Controls

The Australian Government has imposed export controls on defence and strategic goods and technologies in support of international efforts to stem the proliferation of conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the systems that deliver them.  The primary body managing these controls is the Defence Export Control Office (DECO).

This page provides information and relevant links to assist researchers to comply with Defence Trade Control (DTC) regulations.

Defence and Strategic Goods List

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) includes several types of technology that might be an important part of JCU’s research. If you are collaborating with people outside of Australia on any of the following, please examine the material on this page in the context of your work:

Controlled goods and technologies listed in the DSGL include:

  1. Military items designed or adapted for military purposes or those that are inherently lethal, incapacitating or destructive; and
  2. Commercial items and technologies that may be used or adapted for use in a military program or contribute to the development and production of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons systems (“dual-use items”).

The 2nd group (“dual-use items”) is split into 10 categories:

  • 0 - Nuclear Materials
  • 1 - Materials, Chemical, Micro-organisms 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

“Technology” is defined in the DSGL as “specific information necessary for the development, production or use of a product.  This information takes the form of technical data or technical assistance”.

Technical Data may take forms such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as disk, tape, or read‐only memories.  Technical Assistance may take forms such as instruction, skills, training, working knowledge and consulting services and may involve the transfer of Technical Data.

The Defence Trade Controls Act

The export of intangible goods and technologies is regulated by the Defence Trade Controls Act. This Act dates from 2012, with the control regime relevant to JCU’s activities and the associated penalties, coming into force on 2nd April 2016.

There are two categories of activity under this Act that apply to JCU’s research: supply and publication.

Supply

Supply occurs when a person in Australia provides DSGL technology to another person outside of Australia.  Examples include email transactions and providing password access to a restricted online site.  Supply is regulated/controlled and requires approval from DECO before it can occur. Supply that occurs wholly within or outside Australia, is oral in nature or is within the same legal entity/between controlled entitites (ie. JCUA and JCUS) is not controlled.

There are four exceptions, being the supply of information:

  • That is already in the public domain;
  • For the conduct of basic science research, being experimental or theoretical work undertaken principally to acquire new knowledge of the fundamental principles of phenomena or observable facts, not primarily directed towards a specific practice or aim;
  • That is the minimum necessary for a patent application (does not apply to category 0);
  • That relates to medical equipment specifically designed for medical use.

Publication

Publication of DSGL technology is making it available to the public or a section of the public via the internet or other means, whether freely or at cost.

Publication includes activities ‘preparatory to publication’, where an author has commenced drafting a publication that is intended to be published and the draft is supplied to a person overseas to further that publication.  This includes sending a draft publication overseas to a co-author, colleague or expert for comment, or to a peer reviewer or journal editor.

The publication of part one (munitions) DSGL technology is regulated and requires approval from DECO before it can occur.

The publication of part two (dual-use) DSGL technology is not regulated/controlled; no approval from DECO is required.

However, the Minister for Defence can prohibit the publication of dual-use technology if the Minister reasonably believes the publication would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia.

Supply vs Publication

To determine whether the activity is a supply or a publication under the Act, you should ask: Will the DSGL technology be made available 'in the public domain'?

  • If the DSGL technology is published by placing it 'in the public domain', even if it can only be accessed by a payment, it will be a publication. This includes websites available to the public and journals which permit anyone to subscribe. This activity is NOT CONTROLLED for dual use goods/technologies listed in the DSGL.
  • If access to the DSGL technology is controlled or restricted to particular users or groups, it has not been placed 'in the public domain' and it will be a 'supply'. This includes closed conference websites where only members from a select organisation(s) or group can access the conference papers. This activity is CONTROLLED for dual use goods/technologies listed in the DSGL.

DECO and JCU tools

DECO provides a wealth of material online to assist researchers in their self-assessments. Most notable is the Online DSGL Tool, which provides a DSGL Search that assists with determining if goods, software or technologies are listed in the DSGLand an Activity Questionnaire to help determine if a supply or publication activity is controlled.

DECO also has a helpful training site which has four modules and eleven sets of scenarios most applicable to the research sector. There are specific pages too on the DSGL and other aspects of defence trade control.

Research Services have also developed a DTC flowchart specifically for dual-use items. This flowchart will help researchers determine whether they are working with a DSGL good or technology and whether related activity (ie. supply of the good or technology) is likely to be controlled.

Education, Assessment and Responsibility

Ultimately, the responsibility for compliance with export controls rests with the individual researcher, however, it is JCU’s responsibility to educate researchers about the nature of the responsibility. Research Services undertakes to provide workshops/presentations on the subject, focusing on areas most likely to generate dual-use technologies. Where necessary, one-on-one sessions with researchers may also be conducted.

JCU support for DTC compliance

Mohan Sridhar, Associate Innovation & Commercialisation may be contacted for further guidance and clarification on DTC legislation, compliance requirements and assistance with using DECO tools such as the DSGL search and/or Activity Questionnaire. Mohan will also assist with submission of any activity assessments to DECO on behalf of researchers where it is required.