Landmark legislation to bolster national security and remove red tape for Australian industry

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

Defence Media

Release content

27 March 2024

The Australian Parliament today passed landmark legislation that will strengthen Australia’s national security and support local industry by unlocking defence trade, innovation and collaboration with our AUKUS partners.

The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024 (DTC Act) protects our cutting-edge military technologies by enhancing our export control regime. 

It will fast-track the delivery of high-end capabilities to the Australian Defence Force by streamlining trade and collaboration with our AUKUS partners, maintaining Australia’s capability edge.

This new legislation removes red tape in defence trade with our AUKUS partners by supporting the establishment of a licence-free environment for Australian industry, higher education and research sectors. 

It will unlock investment and collaboration opportunities for Australian defence industry under the AUKUS framework, with the national exemption for export permits to the US and UK to benefit an estimated $5 billion in annual defence exports.

The Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Act 2024 (SAMS Act) will keep Australian secrets in Australian hands, ensuring our military secrets remain safe. 

This sensible reform strengthens the robust laws we already have in place by enhancing the Government’s ability to prevent the unwanted transfer of sensitive defence information to foreign militaries.

The SAMS Act is about protecting our military knowledge, skills and experience, as well as regulating the military training that Australians may provide to foreign countries.

Defence will continue to work with industry, higher education and research sector partners to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of these significant reforms.

Further information on the Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Act, can be found here and further information on The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act website can be found here.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“The Albanese Government has passed two crucial pieces of legislation which will safeguard our national secrets, enhance cooperation with our international partners, and protect our national security. 

“The Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Act represents a proactive approach to countering national security threats and protecting military secrets that are central to Australia’s national security and the security of our allies.

“The importance of protecting our nation’s secrets and sensitive information cannot be overstated. It is central to preserving Australia’s national security and to keeping Australians safe.

“The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act provides defence industry, science and research sectors with greater opportunities for collaboration and trade with our AUKUS partners without the burdensome red tape. 

“This will benefit defence industry in Australia, unlocking $5 billion – more than half of our annual exports – to our AUKUS partners.” 

Other related releases