Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – Government to work with Universities on strengthened export controls

The Government will work closely with the University and research sectors to ensure the effective implementation of the strengthened export controls contained in the Defence Trade Controls Bill, passed by Parliament yesterday, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said.

“We welcome the Universities Australia response to the passage of the Bill and its support for the Bill’s implementation arrangements. The Government will work constructively with the sector to ensure Australia retains its innovative and competitive edge,” Mr Smith and Mr Clare said.

Universities Australia, the peak body representing Australia’s 39 universities, said that amendments to the Bill supported by the Government “secured a number of important procedural changes, including a minimum two year trial period to be overseen by an independent Steering Group chaired by the Chief Scientist, together with strong Parliamentary oversight”.

The Government thanks the University and research sectors for constructive participation in the Roundtable consultation process chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, as well as consultations conducted by Dr Alex Zelinsky, the Chief Defence Scientist, and Mr Ken Peacock.

On the recommendation of the Roundtable the Government supported important amendments to the Bill to ensure Australia’s export regime struck the right balance in protecting our national security interests, while ensuring Australia’s innovative University and research sector retains its competitive edge.

Universities Australia welcomed the outcomes of the Chief Scientist’s Roundtable, which are reflected in the Bill and include:

  • a two year transition period;
  • the appointment of a Steering Group chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist;
  • a Pilot Program to monitor the effects of strengthened export controls.

The Steering Group will provide regular reports to Government and make recommendations on whether Australia’s export control arrangements are not more restrictive than US regulations in relation to University activities.

Universities Australia media release on the passage of the Bill can be found at:

Media contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office (Sacha Fenton): (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528

Mr Clare’s Office (Annie Williams): (02) 6277 7290 or 0428 040 522

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