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Australian Parliament passes TCA, SAMS bills

The Australian Parliament has passed the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024 (DTC Act) in a bipartisan move that is designed strengthen Australia’s national security and support local industry by unlocking defence trade, innovation and collaboration with Australia’s two AUKUS partners.

The bill also enhances Australia’s export control regime, says the government. It will fast-track the delivery of high-end capabilities to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) by streamlining trade and collaboration with the AUKUS partners, maintaining Australia’s capability edge.

“The importance of protecting our nation’s secrets and sensitive information cannot be overstated,” said Minister for Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. “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.”

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

The government says 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), which was also passed at the end of March, is designed to keep Australian military secrets safe.

“This 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,” said the government.

The SAMS Act is about protecting Australia’s 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.

For further information on the Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Act, go here and for further information on The Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act go here.

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