Amended export controls protect basic science, says ATSE

20 March 2024

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) welcomes the fundamental research exemption amendment which has been made to the Defence Trade Controls Amendment 2023, which the organisation strongly advocated for.

The bill has passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate and now includes some protection for research from being unnecessarily caught up in export controls.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said, “while ATSE is apprehensive about the potential for overreach under this legislation, the amendments which include an exemption for fundamental research, are a considerable improvement to the Bill that was initially proposed.

“ATSE engaged throughout the consultation process and raised concerns about the potential chilling effect on Australian research of the export controls regime. By legislating this exemption, scientists and researchers can now be confident they are not inadvertently breaking the law through simply practicing their research.”

“It is vital that these changes are accompanied by clear communication about the changes, and training to empower researchers to comply with the legislation,” said Kylie Walker.

The Academy also appreciates the commitment to review the legislation in three years – this is vitally important to monitor and mitigate any unintended adverse outcomes for Australian research. ATSE looks forward to engaging in the review in due course.

Together with the Australian Academy of Science, ATSE provided submissions to the exposure draft and later Senate inquiry, and gave evidence at a public hearing. ATSE appreciates the consideration given to the issues we raised.


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