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Export Controls and Your Rights

Privacy and Information Handling in DEC

Information provided to DEC in an export application is handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988, the Freedom of Information Act 1982, and the Archives Act 1983.
Employees of Commonwealth agencies, including the Department of Defence, also have obligations and duties under the Public Service Act 1999 and Public Service Regulations 1999, the Crimes Act 1914, and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, to treat your information in a secure and confidential manner.
We protect your information through a series of measures, including:

  • procedural: appropriate handling, transmission and access, restricted to suitably cleared employees
  • physical: secure storage and access to work areas
  • technical: firewalls and encryption

We adhere to the 'need to know' principle, where official information is only made available to Defence employees and contractors who need to use or access the information to do their work. To reduce the risk of unauthorised disclosure, we ensure that only those persons with a proven 'need to know' and an appropriate security clearance gain access to your information.
As part of our decision making processes, your information may be shared with other Australian government agencies, including, but not limited to:

  • the Department of Home Affairs  
  • the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • law enforcement agencies
  • intelligence agencies

Your information may also be disclosed as required or authorised by law: for example, in response to a court subpoena requiring the Department of Defence to produce certain documents, or where the information is reasonably necessary for a law enforcement activity.
We may provide information about proposed or past exports, as part of Australia's reporting and consultation obligations to our international regime partners. These disclosures would be in relation to specific technologies or transactions, and would be based upon national security concerns within Australia or impacting our international regime partners. We will not disclose your personal or business information beyond these circumstances without your consent, or unless authorised by law.
Our export application forms include a Privacy Statement which outlines how Defence will use your information and to whom it will be disclosed. Defence's privacy policy is available on the Defence website.
If you have any questions regarding our information handling and privacy procedures, please feel free to contact us on 1800 661 066 or via email.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

Information on export applications held by the Department of Defence is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
FOI requests are actioned by the FOI Directorate within the Department of Defence. Decisions regarding requests for access will be made by an authorised officer in accordance with the requirements of the FOI Act. Each FOI request is assessed on a case-by-case basis and careful consideration is given to any applicable exemptions before a decision is made as to whether the requested information can be released.
Further information on the FOI Act, including how to make a request, is available at Defence FOI.

Review Rights

If you do not understand or agree with a decision to impose conditions on, refuse, or revoke an export permit, please contact us. You are also able to seek a review of the decision.
A range of review mechanisms apply to export decisions made by the Defence Minister or a delegate. The review mechanism that is available will depend on the specific decision. When an adverse decision is made, we will notify you in writing of the decision, provide reasons for the decision, and advise you of your review rights.
Review mechanisms that may be available include:

A description of each of these review mechanisms follows.

Internal Review

Where the disputed decision was made by a delegate, you can request that the Minister review the decision. The Minister will personally review the information relevant to the making of the decision, and then affirm, vary or set aside the decision. Once the review is complete, you will receive written notice of the outcome, including the Minister’s reasons for their decision.
To apply for an internal review, you must make a written request to the Minister. The request must set out your reasons for applying for the review, and be given to the Minister within 30 days after you have received notice of the disputed decision. No fees apply for internal review requests.

Merits Review

Where the disputed decision was made by the Minister – that is, decisions made originally by the Minister and decisions following internal review by the Minister – you can seek external merits review through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Like internal review, merits review involves the AAT reviewing all the relevant facts, and then affirming, varying or setting aside the disputed decision. 
Applications must be made in writing (via email or letter, or completing either an online or paper application form), and submitted to the AAT within 28 days after you have received the disputed decision. Application fees apply.
For more information on merits review, please refer to the AAT's website

Judicial Review

All decisions – whether original export decisions or review decisions by either the Minister or the AAT – are subject to judicial review by the courts. This form of review differs significantly from merits review. Unlike merits review, it assesses only the legality of the decision and can only be sought to rectify errors of law.
For more information on judicial review, including on procedures and timeframes for filing an application, please refer to the Federal Court of Australia's website.  

Other Avenues

If the above mechanisms are not suitable to address your concern, you can also contact:

Procedural Fairness Requirements

Whenever the Minister or a delegate makes an adverse decision, those affected by the decision are entitled to procedural fairness. Procedural fairness requires a fair and proper process to be followed in making a decision. This means that you are entitled to:

  • the opportunity to make submissions in relation to your application before a decision is made, and, if relevant, to have them taken into consideration; and
  • the decision being made free from bias.    

The information below describes our measures to ensure procedural fairness is afforded when administering export control legislation.


Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

The applicant lodges their application through the online Defence Export Control System. DEC acknowledges the receipt of the application and advises the applicant that target assessment timeframes are 15 working days for standard cases, and 35 working days for complex cases, although some cases may take longer.

Procedural fairness measures

When you lodge an application, we email you acknowledging receipt and advise indicative timeframes.
Technical Assessment

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

Our technical assessors determine whether the item is listed in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL), or if it may be subject to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995 (WMD Act) or the Military End-Use (MEU) provision of the Customs Act 1901.

Procedural fairness measures

Technical assessors may contact the applicant for further technical details to inform their assessment.
Risk Assessment

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

Our risk assessors consider if the application might meet any assessment criteria for refusal or prohibition. More complex or sensitive applications are referred to other areas across Government, to seek input from relevant subject matter experts and policy areas.

Procedural fairness measures

We will keep you informed if the indicative timeframes will not be met.  If DEC reaches the preliminary view that a permit should not be granted, we will notify you. This notification will take the form of a letter that advises you of the unclassified aspects of the assessment. The letter will invite you to provide additional information to support your case. We will provide the technical assessment as an attachment to the letter.
Executive Decision

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

The DEC executive team reviews all applications, and provides approval for most.  Only the Minister for Defence can refuse or prohibit a case.

Procedural fairness measures

As stated above, if DEC reaches the preliminary view that a permit should not be granted, we will notify you and invite you to provide additional information to support your case. For application approvals, we will consult with you before imposing non-standard conditions.

Defence Export Controls Assessment Process

We will send the outcome of the decision, including a copy of the permit, to you by email. If permits have conditions, permit holders must comply with these conditions.

Procedural fairness measures

If the Minister denies an application, you are provided with written notice of that decision setting out the unclassified reasons for the decision and your review rights.

Further information on the Government's export control policy is available on the Export Control Policy page of this website.

Other Australian Government agencies involved in the administration of export control legislation include the Australian Border Force, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Industry, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.