Tangible and Intangible Exports

Southern Cross University is a registered client of the Australian Department of Defence, Defence Export Controls (DEC) for the purpose of applying for licenses and permits to export items on the DSGL.

Exports can be more than physical overseas shipments of defence and strategic goods and technology. Exports are classified as either 'tangible' or 'intangible'.

'Tangible exports' items can be exported by ship or aircraft, sent by post or courier, or carried in checked-in or hand-held luggage. A 'tangible export' can include technology stored on a physical medium such as a CD, DVD, USB or computer hard drive or in the form of blueprints, diagrams or notes.

A 'tangible export' of defence and strategic goods and technology requires an export permit.

An 'intangible export' (or supply) occurs when a person in Australia supplies or provides a person located outside Australia with access to defence and strategic technology by electronic means by email, fax, telephone, video conferencing, or providing access to electronic files that contain DSGL technology.

An 'intangible export' of defence and strategic technology now requires an export permit.

The following table summarises the restrictions that apply to the intangible supply, brokering or publishing of controlled technology.

TypeControlled military technology
Part 1 DSGL
Controlled dual-use technology
Part 2 DSGL
Supply Permit required Permit required
Exceptions for e.g. most verbal supply and pre-publication supply
Publishing Approval by Minister for Defence required No approval required*
Brokering Permit required No permit required
(unless for military end-use)*

*In specific cases the Minister for Defence may issue a notice to prohibit a dual-use publication or brokering activity if they reasonably believe that it would prejudice Australia's security or international obligations.

Permits are now required for these activities, since the strengthened export control measures came into force on 2 April 2016. Offence provisions include penalties of up to $425,000 or imprisonment for 10 years, or both. However, a person who mistakenly supplies, brokers or publishes controlled technology after following institutional compliance processes would unlikely be prosecuted.