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.

Who is responsible for Defence Export Controls at UOW?

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.

Where to get help and advice?

Researchers should refer to the University Defence Trade Controls Guideline for further details.
The Research Services Office (RSO) has a dedicated point of contact, the Research Integrity Officer who can provide you with further information and advice on Defence Export Controls. All applications for assessment, permits and approvals MUST be submitted to the Research Integrity Officer for lodgement.

Record keeping?

The RSO maintains a central register to track approved permits and approvals and compliance with any conditions that may be required.

If Defence Export Controls is new to you then it is important you find out what activities require an approval in order for you to undertake your research.
Think in terms of the Research items (information, goods or technology) that you are working with and ask yourself the following simple questions:

  • Will I be supplied any goods, technology or information intentionally?
  • Are any materials being supplied intentionally, designed specifically or modified for military end use?
  • Could my materials 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 Sanctions?
  • Does my work have any risks that may compromise Australia's national security?
  • Is my research listed on the defence and strategic goods list?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions you may require APPROVAL to continue your work but you have a few other things to do first.

  1. Conduct a Search using the DSGL online tool.
  2. Complete the Online Activity Questionnaire. SAVE A COPY OF ALL RESULTS OBTAINED IN STEPS 1 & 2.
  3. If Steps 1 & 2 have resulted in advice that YES a permit is required complete the UOW Defence Trade Controls Project Information Form and submit this to along with your results from Steps 1 & 2 and any other documents of relevance such as Materials Transfer Agreements, End User Letters of agreement etc. If Steps 1 & 2 resulted in advice that NO a permit is not required but you are still uncertain complete the UOW Defence Trade Controls Permit Application Form and submit this to along with your search results and any other supporting documents.The Research Integrity Officer will advise you of any additional information required once they receive your form. It is the responsibility of the Researcher to provide any requested additional information.
  4. The Research Integrity Officer will prepare the relevant DEC Form and Lodge this for Assessment. 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.

The Research Integrity Officer 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: Michelina Weatherall: Research Integrity Officer
Phone: +61 2 4221 4969 Email:


UOW Guidelines and Forms

Defence Export Controls
The two online tools that you will need to access to ascertain if a Defence Export Controls Permit is required for your research are the:


Legislation that applies to Defence Export Controls includes:

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) is divided into two Parts:

Part 1: Military Goods or the Munitions List

These are goods and technology that are designed or able to be adapted for military purposes or may be inherently lethal, incapacitating or destructive. This part covers:

  • Weapons & accessories
  • Vehicles & assets
  • Chemicals & materials
  • Radar & surveillance
  • Test equipment & simulation & training equipment
  • Cryogenic & superconductive
  • Miscellaneous goods
  • Software & technology

Part 2: Dual Use Technologies

These are commercial items or 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. The broad categories include:

  • Nuclear materials
  • Materials, chemicals, micro-organisms & toxins
  • Materials processing
  • Electronics
  • Computers, telecommunications & information security
  • Sensors & lasers
  • Navigation & avionics
  • Marine
  • Aerospace & propulsion
  • Sensitive & very sensitive listings

To find out if the goods, service or technology that you are working with you need to conduct a search of the DSGL using the online tool.

Using the online DSGL Search Tool

Access the DSGL search tool.

You search this tool by entering key words associated with your research eg sodium AND cyanide, potassium OR polypyrrole.

Remember to SAVE a copy of all of your Search results.

You can put in as much information or as little as possible when conducting a DSGL Search and perform more than one search. 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 also 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 shows you did attempt to use this self-assessment tool.

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.

There are exemptions that mean you do not require a permit.

These are defined below as per the DSGL:

Basic scientific research

"... 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 practical aim or objective."

Work in the Public Domain

"... technology or software which has been made available without restrictions upon its further dissemination (copyright restrictions do not remove "technology" or "software" from being "in the public domain"). Examples may include:

  • Published technical papers
  • Publications ie. Books, journals, newspapers available online, from stores or libraries
  • Subscriptions available to anyone that wants to obtain or purchase the material
  • Flyers, brochures, papers, leaflets distributed at a conference, seminar, trade show or exhibition
  • Company brochures or presentations used for marketing purposes

Medical equipment

The controls in the dual-use list (Part 2 of the DSGL) are not intended to subject medical equipment to export controls. There is a 'General Note on Medical equipment' in Division 3 of the DSGL.


A person does not need approval to publish dual‐use DSGL technology. However, the Minister for Defence may issue a notice prohibiting a person from publishing dual‐use technology, if the publication would prejudice Australia's security, or international obligations. Supply preparatory to publication of any Part 2 DSGL technology when there has been no publication prohibition notice issued.

Verbal supply

This is where supply is not the provision of access to DSGL technology AND is not going to a Weapons of Mass Destruction Military Program.

Government & security agencies

Supply to government and security agency employees eg. Australian Defence Force, Australian Public Service, Australian Federal Policy, Australian State or Territory Policy, Australian Intelligence Community, where receipt is in the course of fulfilling official duties. Supply also by government and security agency employees.


For example, the minimum necessary information for patent applications. This does not apply to nuclear technology listed in Category 0. It applies to the supply of DSGL technology where it is done for and directly related to the purpose of ‘seeking a patent’ in Australia or internationally.

If you are not sure if your research fits into any of these exemptions please contact the Research Integrity Officer, to discuss.

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.

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)

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.