Defence export controls

Australia has implemented defence export control legislation and regulations that are designed to protect national security interests and stem the proliferation of military goods and technologies that may be associated with conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the systems that deliver them. To achieve this, the export and supply of goods, technology and/or information that are classified as “controlled” outside of Australia is restricted and prior approval is required by the Defence Export Controls Office (DECO) before this export can take place.

Primary responsibility for compliance with export control laws rests with YOU, the individual researcher. This is due to the obligations imposed by the laws and the basis that researchers have the expertise to identify whether their activities or intended exports require a permit or approval. Violation of Australian Defence Export Controls laws have penalties that apply to the individual researcher.

Researchers are encouraged to keep a record of all decisions made in regards to Defence Export Controls – further information below.

Researchers should refer to the University of Wollongong’s Defence Trade Controls Guideline for further details.

The Research Integrity and Ethics Unit maintains a central register to track approved permits and approvals and compliance with any conditions that may be required. All applications for assessment, permits and approvals MUST be submitted to the Research Integrity Officer for lodgement.

The Research Integrity and Ethics Unit has a dedicated point of contact, the Research Integrity Officer, who can provide you with further information and advice on Defence Export Controls.

Announcement: Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024

Parliament has passed the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024, amending the Defence Trade Controls Act (DTCA) 2012. The Act received Royal Assent on 8 April 2024. It commences within 6 months with offences coming into effect a further 6 months after commencement of the Act. Further information on the changes can be found on the Australian Government Defence websIte.

International Collaboration and Other Regulatory Requirements

Defence Export Controls are just one of the regulatory requirements designed to ensure that Australia’s national interest is protected. The investigators, partners and research area of all projects should be assessed to ensure the project complies with all assessment, permit and notification requirements for Sanctions, the Foreign Interference Transparency Scheme and the Foreign Arrangements Scheme. The Regulatory Checklist for International Collaborations (PDF: 188 KB) is designed to help staff navigate the legislative requirements and understand if a permit, notification or additional assessment is required.

If Defence Export Controls is new to you then it is important you find out what activities require a permit in order for you to undertake your research.

The Defence and Strategic Goods List 2021 is divided into two parts:

  1. Defence and related goods, that is, goods and technologies designed or adapted for use by armed forces or goods that are inherently lethal. These goods include:
    • military goods, being goods or technology that is designed or adapted for military purposes, including their parts and accessories; and
    • non‑military lethal goods, being equipment that is inherently lethal, incapacitating or destructive, such as non‑military firearms, non‑military ammunition and commercial explosives and initiators.
  2. Goods that have a dual use. Dual‑use goods comprise equipment and technologies developed to meet commercial needs but which may be used either as military components, or for the development or production of military systems or weapons of mass destruction.

A simplified outline of the list is provided in Division 2 of the Defence and Strategic Goods List 2021.The full list can be found in Part 1 – Munitions list and Part 2 – Dual-use list of the Defence and Strategic Goods List 2021.

Start thinking about the research items (information, software, goods and/or technology) that you are working with. Below are some of the questions a researcher should ask themselves:

  • Is there an international partner / collaborator?
  • Will I be supplying any information, software, goods and/or technology internationally?
  • Is any of the information, software, goods and/or technology being supplied internationally designed specifically for military end use?
  • Could any of the information, software, goods and/or technology being supplied internationally be potentially modified for military end use?
  • Could my information, software, goods and/or technology possibly be used to assist a weapons of mass destruction program?
  • Am I sending anything to a country that is subject to UN Security Council or Australian Autonomous Sanctions?
  • Does my work have any risks that may compromise Australia's national security?
  • Is any of the information, software, goods or technology that I am working with found on the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL)?
  • Will I be publishing? Note: Publishing Part 1 (Munitions List) DSGL technology is regulated and requires approval from Defence Export Controls (DEC) before publication. Publishing Part 2 (Dual-Use List) DSGL technology does not require approval for publishing.

Primary responsibility for compliance with export control laws rests with the individual researcher. It is important you can show due diligence and what was considered when considering Defence Export Controls - even in the case where a permit is not required.

You may also wish to review the Exemptions defined as per the DSGL.

If you strongly believe a permit is not required, you are encouraged to retain a copy of the results displayed when using the online Department of Defence’s Defence and Strategic Goods List tool and record of any considerations you have made in order to show due diligence. You may wish to provide the Research Integrity and Ethics Unit with a copy for central record keeping.

If you are unsure or feel you may possibly need a permit, please read through the sections below or contact the Research Integrity and Ethics Unit for further guidance.

Defence Export Controls (DEC) has developed a Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) Self-Assessment tool to help determine if information, software, goods and/or technology are controlled.

The DGSL Self-Assessment Tool has two parts:

  1. The Online Activity Questionnaire
  2. The Online DSGL Search

As a researcher, you need to:

Tips for using the Online DSGL Search:

  1. Enter key words associated with your research e.g.: sodium AND cyanide, potassium OR polypyrrole.
  2. Conduct multiple searches to ensure you cover all aspects of your research.
  3. After you complete each search you should read all of the information that is presented and save this to “My DSGL Items”. When you have finished searching you need to print the report by clicking “Print My DSGL Items”. You must save a copy of this document in the event you are requested to provide evidence that you completed the necessary assessment. You are able to save a copy of the report even if nothing comes up in the search. This is important as it is a record of your due diligence.
  4. It is not mandatory to send your results to the Research Integrity and Ethics Unit but you may wish to provide the unit with a copy for central record keeping.

You may also wish to review the Exemptions defined as per the DSGL.

  1. Save a copy of the results you obtained when completing the Online Activity Questionnaire and Online DSGL Search Tool. The section Determining if a permit may be required contains information to help you.
  2. If your results are indicating a permit is required email the Research Integrity and Ethics Unit with the following information:
  3. If your results are indicating that a permit is NOT required but you are still uncertain email the Research Integrity and Ethics Unit including the results from the Online Activity Questionnaire and the Online DSGL Search Tool and any other documents of relevance such as Materials Transfer Agreements, End User Letters of agreement etc.
  4. The Research Integrity Officer will advise you of any additional information required once they receive your request. It is the responsibility of the Researcher to provide any requested additional information.
  5. If a permit is required, the Research Integrity Officer will prepare the relevant Defence Export Controls (DEC) Form and lodge for assessment. You will be advised when this is complete. The DEC can, and do, take up to 15 working days to assess an application. Sometimes this can take longer if additional information is requested, so the more that is provided initially the better to avoid delays.

 You may also wish to review the Exemptions defined as per the DSGL.

Are there any case studies I can view?

Access Case Studies that Defence have developed to demonstrate the requirements of the Defence Trade Controls Act. These include the topics of:

  • Corrosion-resistant pumps
  • Provision of training/ consultancy advice
  • Export of goods with potential military end use

Are there any scenarios or examples I can view?

Access a list of common scenarios that may assist you to obtain a better understanding on how Defence Trade Controls impacts activities including:

  • Publications
  • Conferences
  • Educational instruction
  • Research, correspondence and informal scientific exchanges
  • Editing and peer review
  • Commercial consulting

If there are additional situations that you encounter please contact the Research Integrity Officer to discuss your ideas.

Is there any training I can do?

UOW Awareness Training

Training is delivered by the Research Integrity Officer an may take the form of seminars, workshops and tailored training sessions delivered to affected research groups upon request. Researchers should visit this website to view any other training opportunities that may become available.

A webinar on International Collaborations, including researcher responsibilities for Defence Export Controls was held on Tuesday 30 November 2021. A copy of the slides and recording can be found in the International Collaborations folder in the self-enrol Research Integrity Moodle site.

A training module on Export Controls, prepared by Epigeum, is available in in the self-enrol Research Integrity Moodle site.

The module aims to assist researchers identify the acts and regulations that govern export controls and how they are management in Australia. Researchers should be able to identify the types of information, goods and activities that may be subject to export controls and know the steps they need to take if they suspect their research might be subject to export controls. The module has an associated quiz for testing knowledge.

For further information, contact 

Defence Export Awareness Training

The Defence Export Controls Office have available a number of self-paced training modules available to assist you as follows;

A basic presentation on export controls

Module 1: Introduction to Australian Export Controls (25mins)

Module 2: Overview of Australia's System of Export Controls (20mins)

Module 3: Regulation and Compliance (20mins)

Module 4: The Defence and Strategic Goods List (20mins)

The Research Integrity and Ethics Unit can assist researchers with export controls compliance and permit applications. They are also available to offer presentations on export controls and permit processes for your School, Faculty or research group upon request.

To determine if you need a permit, want to arrange a presentation or are still unsure about whether your research is affected by the Defence Trade Controls requirements contact the Research Integrity Officer via email: or call +61 2 4221 4607.


Legislation that applies to Defence Export Controls includes:

Are there any exemptions?

The DSGL contains a number of exemptions that can apply to technoloigy that may otherwise be controlled. Exemption information is provided by the Department of Defence website within the information on DGSL.

Is there an application fee to lodge a permit application?

No. Defence permits and assessments are free of charge.

How long will the permit approval take?

Defence processing time is up to 15 working days for non-sensitive export applications.

Sensitive or complex applications may take up to 35 days due to the involvement of other government agencies. This can be even longer if the application is highly complex or sensitive.

Why might my approval be delayed?

Delays to approval will occur mostly due to incomplete documentation eg. End-User Certificate, insufficient goods information etc. Full details need to be provided to the Research Integrity Officer, as requested to ensure such delays are avoided.

My approval is urgent. What can I do?

If your approval is urgent you need to advise the Research Integrity Officer. They will communicate this to Defence but there is no guarantee that this will expedite the approval. The best method is to plan early and obtain the requisite permit well before you need it. In the event that something changes an amendment request can be lodged after the approval is granted using the Defence Trade Controls Project Variation Form.

I tried to fill out the defence application but I don’t know what a CCID number is?

The Research Integrity Officer will complete the application for approval form that applies to your research for you. You need to complete the Defence Trade Controls Project Information Form and send this along with all other relevant information to the Research Integrity Officer.

A CCID stands for Customs Client Identifier and the Research Integrity Officer will supply this on the requisite documentation that is submitted to Defence. You will receive a copy of the submission for your records.

How do I Complete the Activity Questionnaire?

Access the activity questionnaire.  You will be asked a series of five (5) questions that will take a few minutes to complete. Please ensure you SAVE a copy of your Questionnaire results.

Are my goods or technology controlled?

You will need to perform a key word search using the Online DSGL tool to identify if your research contains “controlled” goods or technology.

Are there any countries I cannot export to?

There is no specific list of countries that you cannot export to, however there are countries with Sanctions imposed that you need to be aware of and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has extensive country information on their website.

I am a HDR Student does Defence Export Controls apply to me?

Whether you are a staff member or student of the University, Defence Export Controls do apply but only if the goods or technology are “controlled” and listed on the DSGL. Go to the Do I need Approval? Webpage to find out if Defence Trade Controls applies to your research activities.

Do not forget that if you undertake research without a permit that is in fact controlled goods or technology you are personally liable and the University takes no responsibility for this in accordance with the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012.

What is the difference between “Supply” and “Publication”?

To identify whether your research activity constitutes “supply” or “publication” you need to ask yourself the question: “Will there be DSGL technology made available in the public domain?”

If the answer is YES and you are placing the DSGL technology is being placed in the public domain, for example via a journal or website and there are no access restrictions (pay for view is not considered a restriction) then it is a PUBLICATION and a permit IS NOT required.

If the DSGL Technology is controlled or restricted to particular users or groups, it has not been placed 'in the public domain' for example, a closed conference where only members from a select organisation or group can access the conference papers, or a website or database requiring a login and password to access the information and only a select group can login then this constitutes SUPPLY and a permit IS required.

Do I need a permit to publish a scientific paper overseas describing my research which involves DSGL Technology?

Part 1 DSGL technology, that is not already available in the public domain will require a permit to send the paper overseas to the publisher.

Part 2 DSGL technology does not require a permit as this is considered to be a pre-publication activity and is exempt.

Do I need a permit to (i) present a paper at an overseas conference and (ii) use PowerPoint slides that contain DSGL Technology?

To present at the conference does not require a permit. A permit is needed to ‘supply’ the slides from Australia to the overseas conference organisers including if transporting these via hard copy, USB or on your laptop. If there is a paper with the presentation a permit may be required but this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as it depends upon the method used to distribute the paper.

I have a graduate student working in my research group who is from overseas. Do I need a permit for them to access the DSGL technology that we are using?

A permit is not required as long as the supply and DSGL technology does not leave Australia.

I am part of a project collaboration that has researchers from overseas and other Australian Universities. I am not the Project Leader. Do I need to do anything if I need to send goods or technology that is on the DSGL overseas as part of this project?

You will need to obtain a copy of the permit that the Project Leader should lodge to cover the DSGL work being undertaken. In addition you need to ensure that you have been named as a Co-Collaborator on the permit before sending any goods or technology to your overseas counterparts. 

Do I require an assessment and/or permit to publish?

The Department of Defence has a number of FAQs related to Defence Export Controls and Publishing on their website.