"Industry appreciates the intent of proposed amendments to the Defence Trade Controls Act and supports the development of a license-free environment for trade in sensitive technology and services with our AUKUS partners. However, there remain concerns with the potential impact of the Bill that must be clarified as a matter of priority," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"Ai Group and the Ai Group Defence Council acknowledge the Government's commitment to strengthening national security and defence capabilities and support a measured and proportionate approach to defence trade controls in support of the AUKUS trilateral security partnership.

"Establishing this environment is essential to unlocking technology-sharing opportunities under the AUKUS partnership. Not only will it strengthen collaborative ties amongst the three countries' defence industries, but also position Australia as a global hub for innovation in defence capabilities.

"Any proposed amendments must take into consideration the benefits of the AUKUS arrangements, as well as the impact on the wider community, and particularly non-Defence companies and small to medium enterprises.

"Ai Group's submission on the exposure draft of the Bill details industry concerns in a number of areas where such regulatory clarification is warranted. This includes compliance complexity and increased costs, clarity on exemptions and over-capture of broader industry and practical applications.

"We believe that additional support for SMEs will be needed, including guidance, resources, and potentially streamlined processes, recognising their particular challenges and capacities.

"The Bill has the potential to significantly impact both Ai Group Defence Council members and the wider defence industry supply chain in Australia, as well as the broader innovation community.

"From regulatory clarity to the wording of specific clauses, our members underscore the importance of a consultative process to ensure these reforms provide a workable approach to defence trade controls which will minimise impacts on innovation and international technology collaborations.

"Ai Group’s Defence Council advocates for a consistent and transparent approach which appropriately manages risk while minimising compliance costs and other barriers to international defence industry innovation.

"Industry looks forward to further engagement and consultation, which will enable full consideration of the practical impacts on defence industry in implementing these reforms," Mr Willox said.

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The Ai Group Defence Council is the peak national representative body for the Australian defence industry. The role of the Defence Council is to address significant issues that impact the defence industry. Defence Council Structure