Charles Sturt University compliance with the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012.

The offence provisions of the Commonwealth’s Defence Trade Control Act 2012 came into force on 2 April 2016. The Act regulates dealings in certain goods, services and technologies that could potentially have applications in matters of defence.  Such items and services are listed in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (the DSGL) and also covers items included in the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty between Australia and the United States of America.

This Act is designed to protect workers involved in science and technology development, from inadvertent distribution of sensitive information, goods, and/or technology to potentially hostile nations and entities.  The major responsibility for Charles Sturt University will be to ensure compliance with this Act through the new Defence Trade Control Act 2012 – Compliance and Administration Policy which will require oversight of controlled information, goods and technologies as defined in the Act.

Australian universities have been working with Defence Export Controls, the office within the Department of Defence that will administer the policy towards developing a compliance mechanism with the new Act since late in 2014.

How will the Act impact Charles Sturt Researchers?

Charles Sturt has evolved a process that will support staff and students through implementation of the policy.  Underpinning the process, the implementation team has sought to identify researchers across various fields of expertise who might be at risk of conducting activities that fall under the scope of the Act. These researchers will be required to undertake specific training designed to inform and educate researchers about the Act.  The training can be accessed via the Charles Sturt learning system, (https://csu.elmotalent.com.au/) [select Learning > Course Catalogue > Defence Trade Controls Act]

Please note that the University will train researchers, but the Act also stipulates that individual researchers are responsible for determining if their activities fall under the scope of the Act and if it requires a permit prior to research being disseminated.

In order to identify research projects that are at risk of falling under the scope of the Act, formal research proposal submissions submitted to the Research Office will now also be required to be accompanied by investigator acknowledgement that the research project is compliant with the Act.

Who will be required to take the Training Modules?

A requirement of the Charles Sturt University policy is that the following researchers and administrators will be required to undertake Defence Trade Controls Act training:

  1. Staff in the Faculty of Science having “research” in their position description from the Schools of Agriculture and Wine Sciences, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health.
  2. All staff in the School of Engineering having “research” in their position description.
  3. All staff in the School of Computing and Mathematics having “research” in their position description.
  4. All Heads of Schools, all Research Centre Directors and all Laboratory Managers.
  5. Chairs, Human Research Ethics and Animal Care & Ethics Committees.
  6. All staff who self-identify as conducting activities that may be determined as being “at risk” of falling under the scope of “the Act”.
  7. All staff identified by Heads of Schools or Research Centre Directors as conducting activities that may be determined as being “at risk” of falling under the scope of “the Act”.

Compliance with the Act

The Charles Sturt University policy is a requirement under Commonwealth legislation and it is mandatory for Charles Sturt to be compliant.  Breach of the legislation may result in substantial criminal penalties for:

a) supplying Defence and strategic goods list technology;
b) arranging for other persons to supply goods in the Defence and Strategic Goods List or to supply Defence Strategic Goods List technology;
c) publishing Defence Strategic Goods List technology.

Prior to engaging in any publication or supply of goods, software or technology controlled by the University that are listed on the Defence Strategic Goods List, a permit must be obtained from Defence Export Controls.

The Charles Sturt University Defence Trade Controls Committee (DTCC) will regularly review any changes to the Act and all researchers undertaking activities falling under the remit of the Act will be informed of applicable changes to the regulations and required to update their training as appropriate.

We thank staff in advance for their cooperation as the supporting procedures are rolled out.  While it is true that the burden of compliance for researchers, particularly in Western nations has increased, this policy reflects a global focus on security and the roll that we all must play in supporting the defence of our nation.