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Technology and research can be captured under defence export controls as “dual-use” (i.e. potential for both civilian and military application), even if its primary purpose is civilian use. Researchers and innovators must therefore take special care to ensure that they comply with defence export controls.

Australia’s regulations stem partly from obligations imposed by various international and bi-lateral treaties, along with regulations and arrangements, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Through our experience advising major corporates and CRCs on sensitive research projects, we have developed a unique understanding of compliance with and management of defence and dual-use export control regulations in relation to exports from and imports into Australia, including from and into the US and EU countries.

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (Cth) introduces controls over export of 'intangibles', adding an additional layer of complexity and compliance burden for corporates, research bodies and those Commonwealth government agencies which are not exempt from its regulation. Severe penalties apply for breach.

At FAL, we understand that managing regulation and compliance must be integrated with commercial or academic activities and goals, so our aim is to assist you with any decision-making in order to simplify your compliance obligations.

We can advise you on the following:

  • Applying for export licences from and negotating with the Defence Exports Control Office (DECO)
  • Negotiations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
  • Advising on the new export controls in relation to exports of intangible information (via such means as telephone, email and Skype)
  • Advising on paperwork and record keeping
  • Auditing activities to determine where defence export controls may apply
  • Advising on protocols and procedures for compliance
  • Advising on relevant employment and privacy issues in respect of persons engaged on sensitive projects.
Significant matters

FAL advised a major multinational company on compliance with Australian and international (including US) defence export controls, including ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), in particular on how to manage the development and export of dual-use goods, in relation to advanced exploration technology.

FAL consulted with the CRC Association on the potential impacts of the Defence Export Controls Bill, 2011 (Cth) on the R&D sector, assisted in the drafting of the Association’s submission to the Senate Committee reviewing the Bill prior to its enactment and met with the Chair of the Senate Committee as part of a delegation to express concerns on what may have been inadvertent restrictions in respect of the conduct of research in Australia.

FAL advised an Australian collaborative research entity on the applicability of export controls to intangible online and telephone communication with overseas parties.

FAL advised a CRC on how defence export controls affected the employment of overseas researchers in relation to a potentially defence-sensitive project.

FAL provided advice on defence export controls in relation to the Square Kilometre Array project.