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Export Control Compliance Programs

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An export control compliance program is recommended for organisations that wish to introduce fixed procedures for the purpose of ensuring that they comply with Australian export control legislation and associated regulations. It typically include a set of procedures that an organisation's employees or members must satisfy before an export of goods or supply of controlled technology takes place.

Elements of an Effective Export Control Compliance Program

The following elements are commonly found in effective export control compliance programs:

Commitment to Compliance
1. Senior representatives of organisations may wish to make a written statement of commitment to export control compliance.  This statement could be regularly disseminated to ensure employees or members are routinely made aware of the organisation's commitment to export controls. A sample commitment statement template is provided

2. Senior representatives have an important role to play in ensuring sufficient resources and support are provided to develop, implement, maintain and improve export control compliance policies and procedures.

Structure and Responsibility
3. It is recommended that organisations decide which area of the organisation will have operational responsibility for export control compliance.  Organisations may choose to establish a stand-alone unit or assign additional export control responsibilities to an existing position/s.  This unit or position will be referred to in this guidance as the export control compliance area.  Depending on the size of the organisation, the export control compliance area may report to an appropriately senior officer in the organisation who will have overall accountability for export control compliance, including ensuring that export controls have suitable organisational visibility and are appropriately resourced.

4. An organisation's export control compliance area may include responsibilities to:

  • develop, implement, maintain and improve export control compliance policies and procedures which are endorsed by a senior representative/s of the organisation and promoted to all employees and members;
  • ensure employees or members are aware of their export control compliance responsibilities and the internal structures and responsibilities for export control compliance within their organisation;
  • provide regular export control compliance training to employees or members and record training completion;
  • remain informed and up-to-date with any changes to export control laws, regulations, direction or guidance from Defence Export Controls  and communicate updates to employees or members;
  • centralise export-related questions and issues through the export control compliance area to enable it to act as a conduit between the organisation and Defence Export Controls;
  • establish a regular audit system to confirm that the export control compliance policy and procedures are implemented appropriately and are compliant with relevant Australian laws and regulations, including record-keeping requirements;
  • report export control compliance audit results to senior representatives and take corrective action if and as required;
  • institute procedures for employees or members to identify and manage suspected non-compliance with export control laws; and
  • educate employees or members how to identify and manage  suspicious approaches (DEC's guidance on identifying ‘red flags' may assist).
5. An organisation should consider aligning its export control compliance policies and procedures with its strategies and business objectives.

Export and Supply Screening Procedures
6. Export control compliance areas can develop procedures for employees / members to establish (a) whether the goods, software or technology are controlled (i.e. listed on the DSGL), and (b) whether the export, brokering, supply or publication activity requires a permit. The Online DSGL Tool can assist you to determine if items are subject to export control and whether the export/supply/publication/brokering activity requires a permit.

7. An organisation's policies and procedures can include due diligence measures to help it establish whether it is dealing with legitimate end users who will use the exported or supplied items for legitimate purposes.  This is sometimes referred to as ‘know your customer'.  Exporters should take reasonable steps to screen consignees, end-users, and overseas collaborators to establish, as far as possible, that the goods, software or technology will be used for legitimate purposes.  This could be done by checking that the goods, software or technology are consistent with the stated end-use and compatible with the recipient's business, and no other red flags are raised. If anything feels odd or suspicious, you should contact DEC. Tools that may assist organisations to know their customers include:

Tips for establishing and implementing export control compliance policies and procedures

  • Some organisations, for example smaller universities or research institutions, may choose to share export control compliance resources. A single export control compliance area could be shared across several organisations.
  • The organisation may wish to consider its export controls risk in the context of its risk register.
  • In very large organisations, especially in the university and research sector, identify areas that are likely to export, supply, broker or publish controlled goods, software or technology and present targeted training tailored to their needs. DEC can help compliance areas to identify which areas of their business or institution may deal in technologies that are controlled for export.
  • Where appropriate, business insurance and other agreements could include clauses addressing circumstances of non-compliance with export control requirements.
  • Organisations can review their agreements and instruments under negotiation to identify if export controls are relevant.
  • Organisations are encouraged to help each other to comply with export control compliance (especially within their own supply chains or with other organisations involved in joint projects) as export control non-compliance may delay or stop project delivery.
  • The Australian Industry Group has developed an ‘Australian Best Practice Guide for the management of controlled exports and technology' as a resource to Small and Medium Enterprises, which also includes guidance to comply with US export controls.
  • There are a variety of online resources available for organisations to use as a starting point to establish their export compliance program, including:
  • There are private companies and commercial providers that can assist organisations to establish export control compliance programs and conduct end-user screening for a fee.