Defence Export Controls

Do they apply to you?

With strengthened export control laws in effect from April 2016, your research or other work activities may require permits from the Defence Export Controls Office (DECO).

Commonwealth Controls on Research, including the Customs Act 1901 and the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 and its 2015 amendment (referred to as DTCA), control the:

of goods, software and technology listed on the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) from Australia. Offences under DTCA can carry large penalties including fines and/ or jail time and apply to the individual researcher or researchers who commit the offences.

If your work involves:
• the transfer of information from Australia to another country, and;
• is an item or technology listed on the DSGL, and;
• you are planning any of the defined controlled activities listed above,
you may need a permit from DECO. 

(Note publishing is considered to be a transfer of information outside Australia)

Below you will find details of how to check whether you need a permit and what to do if you need one.

If you know or suspect your work could be used in weapons of mass destruction or for military end-use you will likely be subject to a permit, please ensure you understand your obligations clearly in these cases by contacting the Ethics and Integrity unit for assistance.

Note also that specific prohibitions apply to countries subject to sanctions by Australia or the United Nations (listed here), again you must be clear on your obligations in this regard, so if you are dealing with these countries, please contact us for assistance if required.

All information provided on these pages that is not UOW procedure specific has been copied or paraphrased from the DECO website. In the event that there is a conflict between the information on this page and the information on the DECO website, the DECO website takes precedence.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact the Ethics and Integrity unit on 02 4221 4969 or email:


Checking whether you need a permit:

1) When is a permit NOT required?

2) Is your work on the DSGL list?

3) Are you engaged in a controlled activity?

4) You need a permit, what now?




Export - The transfer of DSGL-listed items overseas in physical form, e.g. by ship, aircraft, post, courier, or as checked-in or hand-held luggage. It includes items such as diagrams and notes sent by CD, DVD, USB, computer hard drive or paper.

Supply - Sending of DSGL-listed items from a person within Australia to another person outside Australia by intangible means such as by email, fax or providing a password to access electronically stored information.

Brokering - Acting as an agent or an intermediary in arranging the supply of DSGL-listed items between two places located outside of Australia. NOTE: it is not anticipated that researchers or staff of the University are likely to be involved in brokering arrangements. If you think you will fall under this definition, please check here and contact the Ethics and Integrity team as soon as possible, as brokers must first be registered before they can apply for a permit as explained on the DECO website link above.

Publication - If 'DSGL technology' is being placed in the public domain, for example via a journal, website or webcast, and there are no access restrictions, then it is a publication. Having to pay to view the information is not an access restriction. Only the publication of DSGL technologies listed in Part 1 – Munitions required approval. (The publication of Part 2, dual-use technologies does not require approval from DECO.)
More information regarding publications is available at:

Technology - Technology is defined in the Act as “specific information necessary for the development, production or use of controlled goods” where technology can take the form of: ‘technical data’, such as blue-prints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, designs and specifications, manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices, or ‘technical assistance’, such as instructions, skills, training, working knowledge and consulting services that involve the transfer of technology.” 

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Last reviewed: 11 October, 2016