Government to look at potential exports stopped for security reasons

Federal Defence Minister David Johnston plans to look into the practice of blocking potential exports of defence industry products for security reasons. 

Adelaide Now reports that the national defence export control office has the power to prevent exports for security reasons. As a result, the business goes elsewhere.

Senator Johnston has experience working in the defence sector and he wants to ensure that no potential exports are prevented unnecessarily.

"We want you to invest, we want you to make a profit and we want to assist you to export," Senator Johnston said in Adelaide last week.

He pointed to the example of a Western Australian company which wanted to export $27 million worth of a particular type of metal it wanted to export to the Middle East but was not permitted to do so. 

He said that the company had no avenue to question the decision or to lodge an appeal against it.
"I think that's an area where I am going to make some significant changes in the way we go about our business,” Johnston said.

"So the challenge for me facilitating what you do out there in this very important area is to have an export office that is quite dynamic, that anticipates the problems, and understands that you must succeed in your commercial endeavour."

However, Defence Teaming Centre chief executive officer Chris Burns said he had only had one experience of the export control office preventing an export on such grounds.

"We need to look more closely into what the causes are before we say it's a particular office," Burns said.

"I would certainly say the experience we had with a South Australian company, it wasn't the export control office, it was the (former Defence) minister sitting on the clearance."