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Australia and sanctions

Who We Are

The Australian Sanctions Office (ASO) is the Australian Government’s sanctions regulator. As the sanctions regulator, ASO:

  • provides guidance to regulated entities, including government agencies, individuals, business and other organisations on Australian sanctions law;
  • processes applications for, and issues, sanctions permits;
  • works with individuals, business and other organisations to promote compliance and help prevent breaches of the law;
  • works in partnership with other government agencies to monitor compliance with sanctions legislation; and
  • supports corrective and enforcement action by law enforcement agencies in cases of suspected non-compliance.

The Australian Sanctions Office sits within DFAT’s Regulatory Legal Division in the Security, Legal and Consular Group.

Our founding principles of responsiveness, clarity and professionalism guide all we do.

We are here to help

ASO works to ensure the efficient administration of Australian sanctions laws, consistent with Australia’s international obligations and foreign policy objectives. We work to prevent sanctioned transactions without unduly impeding legitimate trade. Our aim is to ensure everyone understands their rights and obligations and is able to comply with Australian sanctions law. We will work with you to prevent and address breaches, ensuring Australian sanctions are effective.

If you think you have breached, or are at risk of breaching an Australian sanctions law, you should contact us. We will work with you to identify the causes of non-compliance and help prevent future recurrences.

Our partners

ASO works with a network of federal partners, including the Department of Defence, AUSTRAC, Department of Home Affairs, Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australia Federal Police (AFP), to promote compliance with Australian sanctions law and respond to possible breaches.

ASO and Defence Export Controls (DEC) work closely to implement Australian sanctions law. In many cases, an export will require both a sanctions permit and a DEC permit, requiring consideration by both agencies. ASO frequently requests from DEC technical assessments regarding the export of goods and technology to inform our decisions on permit applications. ASO also works with the Department of Home Affairs, which administers UNSC travel bans and violations of the Customs Act 1901.

ABF and AFP remain at the forefront of the enforcement of Australian sanctions law. ABF may stop exports to or from sanctioned countries where they suspect a breach of sanctions law. In such cases, ASO will work with ABF, DEC and other agencies as appropriate to assess whether a breach of Australian law has occurred and to take corrective or enforcement action as appropriate. ASO may refer breaches of Australian sanctions law to AFP and ABF for investigation, which can lead to criminal prosecution.

The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for implementing all visa restrictions in respect of travel bans listed under Australian sanctions law.

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