Annual Regulatory Plan - Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, 2006-07
Past regulatory change
Introduction of the Non-Proliferation Legislation Amendment Act 2007, to amend laws about non-proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, and for related purposes
Description of issue
The Non-Proliferation Legislation Amendment Act 2007 (NPLA Act) received Royal Assent on 10 April 2007. The NPLA Act amended the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987 (Safeguards Act), to enable Australia to implement its international obligations with respect to new physical protection measures for nuclear material and nuclear facilities called for by the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Physical Protection Convention). That amendment requires States Parties to establish robust and comprehensive security regimes for nuclear material and nuclear facilities. Specifically, the NPLA Act:
- introduced several new offences, including an offence for conduct against a nuclear facility which causes, or is likely to cause, death or serious injury, or substantial damage to property or to the environment by exposure to radiation or release of radioactive substances. In addition a new offence of trafficking in nuclear materials is introduced;
- allows most provisions implementing the amendment to the Physical Protection Convention to come into effect in Australia ahead of the entry-into-force of the amended Convention. The NPLA Act is the main element of legislative steps that will allow Australia to ratify the amended Convention.
- strengthened measures designed to reduce the risk of proliferation and sabotage, making the most serious penalty provisions contained in the Safeguards Act consistent with penalties under comparable Commonwealth non-proliferation and counter terrorism legislation and provides a significant deterrent to the commission of such offences.
- introduced a requirement for a permit to be obtained under the Safeguards Act where a nuclear or related facility is to be decommissioned in Australia. This seeks to ensure that non-proliferation safeguards measures can be effectively applied in the course of decommissioning, underscoring Australia's ability to apply the principle that planned nuclear activities are fully transparent to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The NPLA Act amended the Safeguards Act, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Act 1998 (CTBT Act) and the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994 (CWP Act), to improve the application of Australia's existing non-proliferation arrangements. The NPLA Act:
- made the most serious penalty provisions contained in the CTBT Act and the CWP Act consistent with penalties under comparable Commonwealth non-proliferation legislation, providing a significant deterrent to the commission of such offences.
- extended geographical jurisdiction for offences related to proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons by an Australian citizen or resident anywhere.
The changes have minimal affect on business. Furthermore, the then Office of Regulation Review in examining the Bill, considered that a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was not required because of the limited impact of the then Bill.
Date of effect
10 April 2007
Date last modified
5 August 2011
Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Tel: (02) 6261 1920 | Fax: (02) 6261 1908