Annual Regulatory Plan - Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, 2003–04
Past regulatory change
Introduction of the Non-Proliferation Legislation Amendment Act 2003, to amend laws about non-proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, and for related purposes
Description of issue
The Non-Proliferation Legislation Amendment Act 2003 (NPLA Act) received Royal Assent on 12 December 2003. The NPLA Act amended the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987 (Safeguards Act) to strengthen arrangements for the protection of, and application of non-proliferation safeguards to, nuclear material, facilities and associated information. Specifically, the NPLA Act:
- broadened the class of material which may be declared as associated material, to ensure effective controls on the full range of materials which are specially suited for use in nuclear fuel cycle activities or prohibited activities such as the production of nuclear weapons;
- introduced a permit requirement for the establishment of any new nuclear or related facility in Australia. This will ensure that non-proliferation safeguards measures can be fully integrated into the design of any new facility;
- introduced offences for conduct which breaches procedures set as a permit condition and intended to protect proliferation sensitive information, and for unauthorised communication of information which could prejudice the physical security of nuclear material;
- provided that a permit under the Safeguards Act may prescribe an area to which the permit holder must restrict access. A new offence is introduced for unauthorised entry to such an area; and
- updated penalty provisions in the Safeguards Act to bring the setting of fines into line with current legislative practice.
The NPLA Act amended the commencement provisions of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Act 1998 (CTBT Act) so that key provisions of that Act could be proclaimed in advance of entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). It made several amendments to provisions in the Act to better enable Australia to respond effectively to any request for clarification or for an inspection to demonstrate compliance with the Treaty. Specifically, sections 3 to 7, Part 2, Division 1 of Part 4, Division 1 of Part 5, sections 68 to 72, sections 74, 75 and 78, and Schedule 1 to the CTBT Act came into effect following proclamation by the Governor-General on 11 June 2004. The proclaimed provisions:
- create the offence of causing a nuclear weapons test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion; and
- provide a framework for the establishment and operation of IMS facilities in Australia, and a legal basis for the functioning of Australia's CTBT National Authority.
The NPLA Act amended the Safeguards, Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994 (CWC) and CTBT Acts to facilitate practical naming arrangements under the umbrella of ASNO, or any future administrative structure. These naming arrangements include recognition of alternative names for both the Office and Director specified under the relevant Acts.
The changes have minimal effect on business. Furthermore, the 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
12 December 2003.
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